Created in collaboration with students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, this living wall’s unusual shape lends itself to equally unusual uses.
Framing the entranceway to Quebec’s Jardins de Métis, Surface Deep is an installation that gives new meaning to the term garden wall.
The concept is the work of a group of students from the landscape design and architecture programs at Harvard GSD, led by lecturers Leire Asensio Villoria and David Syn Chee Mah of Asensio_Mah. Like a traditional garden wall, Surface Deep defines entry to the gardens. But it accomplishes this using 22 sections that are oriented into the shape of a twisting ribbon, allowing it to embrace not only the functions of a wall, but also of cover and terrain.
The surface of the wall is riddled with irregular openings that provide shelter to several types of moss, making the wall a living addition to the garden. The helical form is sensitive to the fact that different species of moss thrive under different conditions; the twisting shape exposes some varieties to sunlight, while other areas are kept in the shade.
The wall’s 22 components were fabricated off-site in Cambridge, M.A., and assembled in the gardens over a two-week period. The modular components’ sides are fabricated of one-inch plywood anchored to custom steel plates shaped using robot-operated water-jet cutters, while the skin that holds in the moss beds in place is made from CNC-routed recyclable plastic.
Surface Deep is part of the International Garden Festival, a series of contemporary and experimental gardens erected each year by leading figures in garden and landscape design. Surface Deep and the other gardens making up this year’s festival will be on display until October 2.