Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ecologically Inspired Art - Part 2 Public Farm 1

One of the goals of my blog is to engage, inspire and inform people of their dependence to the land. For me, agriculture in the urban environment serves as an important reminder of the lost connection between advanced civilization and nature. Reinforcing this connection is Public Farm 1; a project designed by Work Architecture Company for MoMA and P.S.1's Young Architects Program.

proposal drawings

project context

P.F.1 will combine playful programs with educational ones, creating a sense of community around the shared experience of growing food. Bringing sustainable construction together with sustainable agriculture, P.F.1 is built entirely of recyclable materials, is 100% solar-powered and utilizes rain collection for irrigation.

ground level view


view from museum

picking skirt

WORKac continues to develop architectural and urban planning projects that engage culture and consciousness, nature and artificiality, surrealism and pragmatism. Please visit the P.F.1 website for more information.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Illuminated landscapes

With the dark days of winter settling in I wanted to bring my readers some much needed light with two very cool International lighting installations, and if that doesn't lift your mood why not purchase your own from the Sculptural Exterior Lighting Top 5.

Installation No.1
Location: Cornwall UK
Designer: Bruce Munro

Field of Light can be seen at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK from 1st November 2008 - 31 March 2009 . Located on the grass roof of the visitor’s centre some 6,000 acrylic stems, through which fibre optic cables run, are each crowned with a clear glass sphere and carefully placed.

Installation No. 2
Project: Wind to Light
Location: Southbank Centre, London UK
Designer: Jason Bruges Studio

Collaboration with OneDotZero and Light Lab for Architecture Week 2007. This experimental site-specific installation illustrates alternative sustainable ways of harnessing energy that will explore the power of the wind in the city. The installation is custom built using 500 mini wind turbines to generate power which illuminates hundreds of mounted LEDS. Bruges work illustrates the simplicity and directness of wind power and its potential; literally and symbolically closing the gap between power generation and consumption.

Sculptural Exterior Lighting -Top 5

No. 1
Manufacturer: DAB, Barcelona, Spain
Designer: Josep Lluis Xucla
Materials: Metal structure. Available in silver or rust.

Empty is a sculpture, a seat and an indirect light source. This is a very innovative product  out of Spain that would work really well in the west coast context. Their website is really interesting as is their other products so have a look.

available through cblstudio

Manufacturer: 4d designs
Designer: Michae Radford
Materials: laser cut steel

These lighting structures create a permanent illuminated sculptural feature ideal for any outdoor environment. This product was designed with the environment in mind as Koivu is easily dissasembled for recycling.

available through cblstudio

No. 3
Energy Bucket
Manufacturer: Stephano Merlo
Designer: Stephano Merlo
Materials: Solar panelling, moulded resin

Energy Bucket is a progressive product that comes from the need in the past to collect potable water at the well using buckets. Energy Bucket requires exposure under solar light to recharge (using the solar panels on top), and it can be carried anywhere to illuminate the night.

Energy bucket
available through cblstudio

Manufacturer: Artemide
Designer: Klause Begasse
Materials: cast aluminium grey base, fibreglass diffusers. 

Slim luminous stems move with the slightest breeze, creating a poetic dance of light. Inserted into a circular base are 7 thin, light, flexible fibreglass stems; fitted to the end of each of these is a white LED, which illuminates the upper part of each stem. Available as single, 3- or 5-piece units. One white LED in each fibreglass “reed”.

available through cblstudio

No. 5
Manufacturer: Northern Lighting
Designer: Trond Svengard and Ove Rogne
Material: Translucent poly-resin

If none of the products above have lifted your spirit then surely Moo by Norwegian company Northern Lighting will. This full scale moose head would makes a great conversation piece in any Canadian setting. With its durable poly resin coat Moo functions as well outside as it does in.

Available through cblstudio

Monday, December 8, 2008

where ideas are born

Freehand sketches are essential for solidifying ideas in the early stages of the design process; where ideas are born. Putting these concepts on paper inspires the designer. Lines remind us of new opportunities, and offer creative solutions that cannot be foreseen. Since drawing plays such an integral role in my work I thought it would be interesting to share some of my work with my readers. The top 4 drawings reveal just a few of the many steps in the design process beginning with the concept sketch. The bottom section exhibits fun and exploratory drawings done in my spare time.

concept sketch and its evolution

Step 1 - Sketch

Step 2 - review

Step 3 -revise

The ability to produce quick on site sketches for clients can also be a great visual presentation aid

Sketch to explore new concepts and

Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome to the christian barnard landscape studio blog

The christian barnard landscape studio is a professional landscape and exterior design studio located in Victoria BC, Canada. Our design work explores the connection between art, ecology and architecture with the natural and created landscape. Our goal is to form spaces that breathe new spirit into the existing context.

The Blog
Dedicated to the promotion and consideration of local detail, including vegetative and human made features, art and culture. The goal is to keep you informed and entertained on important subjects to do with the growing landscape movement and lifestyle that surrounds it. You will be kept on top of cutting edge projects, news, products and musings from great minds. Please feel free to leave suggestions and comments. Enjoy!

Top 5 architectural Planters

In my days of renting and moving house regularily I was continually faced with the issue of being a budding plantsman and not having a plot to call my own. I enjoyed keeping plants, the process of sculpting them, experimenting with different plant material and growing food. The planter was always there to offer me a sense of permanence, to keep me engaged, and of course, mobile if nescassary. Since then I have always been drawn to plant material grown in containers and I use them in my gardens and landscapes wherever possible. It is this interest that has compelled me to put together a list of some of the favourites I have come across in my travels and some I have used in my own designs here in Victoria. Comments and feedback are always welcome.   

1. Atelier Veirkant

Hand made in Bruge these planters capture a contemporary style with impeccable craftsmanship.

Atelier Vierkant
available through cblstudio

2. Tuttisuperterra planter by Marco Ferreri

In a smaller setting these could really optimise the use of space while adding modular architectural interest. The tuttisuperterra can be used alone or stacked. Material-terracino lite, similar to terra cotta but without the problems of cracking and chipping. Dimensions: 11.8" x 19.7" x 19.7"; 15.4 pounds.

Tuttisuperterra planter by Marco Ferreri
available through cblstudio

3. Szolyd (CDN)

The picture below is a clients garden I recently designed, and Szolyds planters were key in tying the modern concrete home with the surrounding landscape. Szolyd is a Victoria based company specializing in innovative design solutions for hard surface architectural features and furnishings.

available through cblstudio

4. Serralunga's Missed Tree

This planter stands out from the others in the list with its scale, form, and materials. It is not only a planter but sculpture as well. The shape of "Missed tree I and II" is redolent of the elements of nature, bringing to mind the forms of the plant world without breaking from the technological world. The two versions, one formed of a single body (Missed Tree I) and the other with a branching element (Missed Tree II) offer the potential for endless combinations.
Material: polyethylene; white, black and red lacquered base in brushed steel. Dimensions: Missed-tree I: height 159 cm, steel base 42 x 42 cm. Missed-tree II: height 200 cm, width 75 cm Missed-tree III: depth 47 cm, width 41 cm, height 57 cm

Missed 1 + 2 Tree
available through cblstudio

As a passionate cultivator of my own food, this product from Food Map Design is a welcomed evolution from the typical vegetable pot. Perfect for the gardener with limited space, this planter is very simply constructed, has a comfortable height to work from and is easy to keep clean and who says you have to only grow food in it.
Material- the food map container is manufactored in Los Angeles county and is made with 100% poost consumer recycled HDPE and is 100% recyclable. HDP is non toxic and Bisphenol A and Phthalate free. Available in two sizes. Low height 23.25" width 15.25" length 33". Tall height 30" width 15.25" length 33"

Food Map Design
available through cblstudio

Ecologically Inspired Art - Part 1 Agnes Denes

This is the first of a series aimed at exhibiting and exploring the ecological art movement. Part 1 will feature Agnes Denes and her project:

Tree Mountain - A Living Time Capsule: 11,000 Trees, 11,000 people, 400 years.

Between 1992 and 1996, Denes created Tree Mountain. The project consisted of a series of architectural renderings on vellum featuring designs for a new forest to be planted in Pinziö, near Ylöjärvi, Finland. These works on paper became planning documents after the Finnish government decided to make Denes’ project its official Earth Day contribution at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 1992.

This major earthwork and reclamation project was designed by the artist as a community undertaking. To accomplish this Denes invited 11,000 people to plant a tree. Each person become the custodian of a tree and received a certificate recognizing their role in the project.

Tree Mountain, Aerial View, 1992-96, Architectural rendering on vellum, 34 x 42 in.

Denes is currently designing a 25-year master plan for the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, 2000, in the Netherlands. Her goal is to unite a 100 kilometer-long string of forts dating from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. She is incorporating water and flood management, urban planning, historical preservation, landscaping, and tourism into the plan.

Restoring Balance

I am continually amazed and inspired at the virility of plant material with  its ability to grow in the most uninhabitable places and thrive. Plant life improves our lives on so many levels and has now come to clean up after us in the form of phytoremediation. This process takes advantage of a plants' natural ability to absorb, accumulate, or metabolize contaminants from the soil or other media in which it grows. It has shown it is particularly effective in the clean up of pesticides, metals, crude oil and contaminants that leak from landfill sites.

When the plants have absorbed and accumulated contaminants, they can be harvested and discarded. If organic chemical contaminants are degraded into molecules like water and carbon dioxide, the plants may not require any special method of disposal. Controlled incineration is the most common method used to dispose of plants that have absorbed large amounts of contamination. For plants that have absorbed metals, controlled incineration produces ashes with a high metal content. Researchers are working on methods to recover the original metals from these ashes. Since phytoremediation is a technology still in the early stages of development, many disposal and metal recovery methods are still being explored. These methods include sun-drying and composting.

Common vegetation used for phytoremediation in North America and their targets.

Alnus glutinosa (Black alder) Target = Bitumen and tar
Festuca rubra (Red Fescue) Target = Crude Oil
Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) Target = Pyrene
Lolium multiflorum (Annual ryegrass) Target = Diesel

Images courtesy of Josh Jackson

In order for a technology to be sustainable, it should be economically viable and environmentally compatible. Phytoremediation uses the existing capabilities of plants and the systems they support to clean up soil and water. It is more cost-effective than traditional remediation methods for contaminated soil, which involve digging up the entire contaminated area and taking it away to another location for chemical treatment, incineration, or burial. With these advantages the process does come without its drawbacks. Depending on the concentration of contaminants in the soil the process can take upwards of 5-15 years to fully remediate a given piece of land. Phytoremediation works best when the contamination is within reach of the plant roots, typically three to six feet underground for herbaceous plants and 10 to 15 feet for trees. The fact is phytoremediation takes less labour and does not disturb the natural surroundings of the contamination site. Although this style of soil remediation takes time, it is a good way to make use of naturally existing resources.

Zaha Hadid does it again

Zaha Hadid's work has been widely praised and criticised and sometimes her unceasing presence in print can be overwhelming. However, I do have a soft spot for Hadid as we are both former graduates of the Inchbald School of Design. Her latest piece entitled 'Kloris’, a cluster of sculptural seating elements inspired by the shapes of flower petals, made its presence felt at Sotheby's Chatsworth Beyond the Limits exhibit 2008. When I saw Kloris displayed outdoors in the very traditional setting of Chatsworth House I felt a renewed interest and enthusiasm for her work. Whether you enjoy her projects or not Hadid's work has the status of a manifesto towards a new design language for urbanism, architecture and the world of products, but enough of that, I will let you interpret for yourself. 

Materials : Fibregalss with chrome finish
edition: 12+2 AP
Size: h: 80 w: 649 x d: 509cm

Kloris is currently accessible to the public at the Sonnenbend gallery New York.