By Sarah Yáñez-Richards |
New York (EFE)
For landscape designer Lily Kwong, who is the first non-white woman to design this exhibit, it was important to convey her Asian origins.
In his design he tries to simulate “the natural elements and traditional Chinese gardens” through small-scale organic elements: he plays with moss-covered rocks and orchids to simulate mountains; fountains to recreate waterfalls and rivers, bushes to represent trees; and the sky, for its part, is very present because it surrounds the entire exhibition through the glass greenhouse.
The exhibition has two large rooms that are connected by a corridor or “meditation walkway”, which is also part of this large greenhouse located in the Bronx park.
On this catwalk, Kwong plays with the juxtaposition between “yin and yang”, by using water and moss on the sides and decorating them with various orchids, some of them medicinal.
“It is something that is often reflected in Chinese garden design. Water is often associated with yin energy and is surrounded by white flowers that are considered the yang element,” Kwong explains to EFE.
The type of orchids found in the “meditation hall” are “rare medicinal orchids that have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine.”
For Kwong, it has a special symbolism because his great-grandfather was a “renowned merchant and healer” and used dendrobium orchids to “give (his patients) more strength and strengthen their blood, thus increasing their longevity.”
A delight for all the senses
The landscape designer says that her design seeks to stimulate all the visitor’s senses: the visual one with the diverse color palette of the orchids; the touch with different textures such as water, rocks or moss; the ear with traditional Chinese music with birds singing playing in the background; and smell with the sweet natural smell of orchids.
“Smell is a very difficult thing to communicate. It is impossible to communicate it in photos or videos and the smells in this room and in this space are extraordinary”, notes the designer, explaining that despite the fact that these flowers are more popular for their visual beauty than for their smell, many types of orchids imitate smells. to attract insects and birds, which are pollinators.
“Some (orchids) smell like chaï tea, others like coffee and others like chocolate. There is a wide range and diversity of scents among all orchids”, details the expert.
Observe with the eyes, not with the phones
Kwong’s goal is that from this Saturday until April 23, visitors put their phones in their pockets and enjoy the exhibition without a screen in between.
“The result (of this exhibition) is beautiful and certainly photogenic, but I hope that in addition to taking photos, people put their phones away, because there are so many little hidden moments that are meant to make people stop, reflect and think about the their own, in their heritage, and in their own connection to the natural world,” Kwong stresses.