Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Trees Than You Can Shake A Stick At

Lin and I were in San Diego last weekend, delighting in the gloom and drizzle in Balboa Park, visiting family, and getting a crash course on Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at the San Diego Museum of Art.

On our slog home along the 405, we stopped in Costa Mesa to pay homage, and engage in some camera play, at a magical corporate plaza where landscape architecture meets sculptural art - Isamu Noguchi's California Scenario.

The gathering of sculptural icons amounts to an allegorical tale of water in California as it cascades down steep mountains, nurtures forests, flows through fields and deserts, and eventually is consumed by The City, disappearing into a dark slot in a glistening, low-slung, somewhat sinister looking pyramid.

I learned of this Noguchi work when I studied landscape architecture and have returned from time to time as a reminder of what design and art can say. I also enjoy seeing how the plantings have evolved and matured over the decades.

California Scenario is bounded by a parking structure and by two nothing-to-write-home-about glass office towers. The massive scale of these buildings is brilliantly balanced by Noguchi's command of space and scale.


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