Taylor Brammer Landscape Architects’ competition entry named the ‘Illusory Forest’ was shortlisted as one of five competition entries for display within the prestigious International Event. As part of the company’s development of design and conceptualization skills within the practice, a collaborative competition entry was submitted in the Boutique Garden category for the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show design competition.
The “Illusory Forest” design concept by Camila Gamalho Pereira, a Brazilian architect and urban designer within Taylor Brammer was selected from within the company and developed collectively for the competition entry. The concept of an “Illusory Forest” came from Camila’s yoga and meditation sessions, where she seeks the image and tranquility of being in a forest. Achieving the perception of being in a forest in an often confined space, Camila sought to recreate her illusory forest within the relatively confined space of the 5mx5m garden, a common sized urban garden space.
The illusion of the forest is created by the use of tall vertical elements and mirrored surfaces to reflect and multiply the depth of the forest and offer changing views as you move through the garden and extend the perception of the boundaries. The grid of structural bamboo poles at 1m intervals is interconnected with a framework of lighter poles to create a structure that is open and allows light to penetrate throughout the space.
The structure creates a labyrinth of secret spaces and framed views that are refracted by a series of mirrors arranged in geometric formation. Planting of the forest is restrained to swathes of groundcover species, punctuated by specimen foliage plants so as not to compete with the verticality of the poles. The raised base is covered in Parlour Palm green walling, so that the garden sits gently in its surroundings.
The selection of bamboo for the core structure was a simple choice, as it is strong, durable, cost effective, fire resistant, and is bio degradable. Environmentally the bamboo typically has a higher carbon sequestration rate generating up to 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees and absorbs 30% more CO2 than trees of an equivalent size.
A series of modular elements are fixed to the bamboo structure within the space including feature epiphytic planting, fractured mirror planes, lighting and fix. As they move around visitors will catch glimpses of themselves reflected within the serene forest creating a sense of wonder and peace.
A sinuous path of crushed recycled concrete reinforces the theme of sustainable materials and construction and guides visitors through the space. The garden will be constructed on a raised plinth clad in bamboo ply to conceal the pots and footings. Misters are installed to create atmosphere and depth within the structure. At night the garden will be illuminated by uplights casting a web of shadows and creating new mysteries.
The garden and green wall was constructed by Coolth Inc. a Melbourne Based Landscape and Green Architecture specialist firm. Bamboo poles have been supplied by Cut Loose Nursey in Port Macquarie, and Live Bamboo by Red Cloud Nursery in Melbourne. Warners Nursery have generously supplied all other plant materials. Leto Bamboo Panels and Plyco have supplied the timber products, while Anston Architectural Paving have supplied the stone.