Sunday, May 17, 2009

Garden Play - Topher Delaney, Designer

Garden Play by Topher Delaney  -  Seam Studio: Land Projects

Environmental artist; garden builder; sculptor: It's not easy to fit Topher Delaney (and the work produced by Seam Studio) into a given category.

Nor is.... Garden Play, Delaney's installation, pictured here as the final post - for the time being, featuring garden installations at Cornerstone Sonoma.

Having been called beautiful and witty, Delaney's design poses questions about the nature (pun intended) of a garden.

Shade fabric, used on either side, closes off the space, while Bar Code 39 - illustrated along the back wall and made of recycled plastic lumber, indicates the symbolism/significance = to garden play.

Have gardens become commodities? How do you define a garden?

Delaney planted eight birch trees: their white trunks and gestural branches repeating the white of the fabric enclosure on 2 sides. The ground plane, too, composed of crushed oyster shells, represents another bright white element. All these facets continually shift in tone; as rain falls in a cascade, clouds pass overhead, or the oftentimes brilliant rays of the sun burn down. Shadows from the trees and the oversize balls bring another lively aspect to the surroundings.

Take in the space from a seat on one of the woven spheres. Or, perhaps you're more inclined to toss them about.

Spare... minimal? Yes. Playful and provocative? Most definitely.

Garden Play is one of numerous child-friendly environments at Cornerstone. A place where you're likely to see kids interacting with the adults in-tow; enjoying opportunities to experience early-on the challenging notions associated with the art of gardens.

As founder and president Chris Hougie directed the designers at the outset, "... invent, inform, and create beautiful and compelling gardens that engage and inspire the viewer intellectually, emotionally, and aesthetically."


  1. I've enjoyed the series on Cornerstone Sonoma. Thanks for bringing it to us.

  2. Really interesting and thought provoking blog - I will visit regularly.

  3. I like Topher Delaney's work, and this is another great example. There's often a refreshing, brave use of colors and pattern. The striped wall in particular sets up a cool dialog with the white birch trunks.