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PHILIPPE STARCK KITCHENS GAETANO PESCE DESIGNS | DE MAJO LIGHTING FOCUS FIREPLACES | ANDY CAO LANDSCAPING

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February - May 2012

SATHU RESIDENCES, BANGKOK

SANDY ISLAND, SINGAPORE | RIVERSHORES, FREMANTLE MARINELLA, HONG KONG | ST MARY, KUALA LUMPUR ST MORITZ PENTHOUSES, JAKARTA SAIGON GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB


LIFE PALACESTYLE

ANDY CAO & XAVIER PERROT

LAND WITHOUT BOUNDARIES by Fawn Soon

AVANT-GARDE ARTISTS RESHAPE CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPES

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OPPOSITE PAGE Bai Yun (White Cloud) ties together clear-cut crystals with wire mesh and diffuses light over a landscape of crushed granite, oyster shell and recycled glass THIS PAGE Glass Garden’s recycled glass pebbles, which depict Vietnam’s rice fields and salt farms, evoke Andy Cao’s childhood memories Red Lantern features an oversized chopstick adorned with red crystals and mother-of-pearl in tribute to the Chinese immigrants who built California’s railroads

“ONE CAN FIND INSPIRATION WITHIN A TWO-FOOT RADIUS”

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o Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot, the term ‘landscape’ encompasses a myriad of possibilities. Their atmospheric ‘hybrid environments’ — both temporary and permanent — cut across commercial, artistic and residential boundaries, ranging from the 600-acre Guangming Central Park in Shenzhen, China, to an intimate courtyard installation for fashion house Kenzo in Paris, France. The two landscape artists — Cao is a Vietnamese American based in Los Angeles and Frenchman Perrot is based in Paris — founded Cao | Perrot Studio in Los Angeles in 2006 (and later in Paris in 2008) and have since collaborated with highly specialised professionals to create a diverse body of work which they describe as “incidental

placemaking”. Their motivation lies in blurring the line between landscape and art to create sensual atmospheres — places where one can pause, observe, experience and dream. “It’s safe to say we strive to create work that appeals to the 99 per cent, but with the luxury mindset for the one per cent,” says Cao. Their work does not require an intellectual discourse or a prescribed meaning. It is about materialising their clients’ strong feelings, which are difficult to articulate. Guided by how they resonate with people and places, and influenced by their diverse cultural backgrounds, Cao and Perrot explore the idea of incidental placemaking — concepts dealing with air spaces and the randomness of nature — to rediscover themes such as diaspora, migration and assimilation. For instance, >>

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“A STRANGE AND SURPRISING DICHOTOMY OF POVERTY AND DIGNITY WAS A SOURCE OF BOUNDLESS INSPIRATION”

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Cloud Chandelier depicts lightness and impermanence using 3,500 cut crystals on a wire mesh Cocoons are made of five miles of coloured monofilament wrapped around laser-cut stainless steel armatures Cao and Perrot transformed the courtyard of the American Academy in Rome into a playful, almost mystical scene A lantern in a garden peppered with wild irises and Himalayan blue poppies, infused with scents of the sea and temple incense Italian art, history and sensuality inspire the Red Box installation, which uses recycled fused medicine bottles and nine tons of glass pebbles

>> Red Lantern (Sonoma, California) is a tribute to the Chinese immigrants who built California’s railroads, and whose descendants created what is now San Francisco’s Chinatown. The eggshell-lacquered lantern and train tracks that descend into the pond recall the legacy of these workers, whose characteristic headdress is symbolised by red crystal droplets. According to Cao, one can find inspiration within a two-foot radius. “Dharavi [a vast slum in Mumbai, India] is one great example. My recent trip there pushed me in the opposite direction of design…a strange and surprising dichotomy of poverty and dignity was for me a source of boundless inspiration.” Desert Sea (Chaumont-surLoire, France) was shaped by a mosaic of cultures ranging from Vietnamese water puppets to African dresses, while Glass Garden (Echo Park, California) is a reconstruction of Central Vietnam’s rice terraces and salt farms based on Cao’s childhood memories, using simple planting and 45 tonnes of recycled glass. In an East-meets-West sensibility guided by intuition and emotions, Cao and Perrot fuse dreamlike atmospheres with real places.

In Cao and Perrot’s hands, everyday objects are re-contextualised while maintaining their links to their origins. Inherent imperfections are portrayed as marks of beauty in a showcase of the timeless charm of indigenous arts and crafts. Jardin des Hespérides (Métis-sur-Mer, Quebec) conjures up the sights, sounds and smells of Vietnam on the St Lawrence River through paths of stark white seashells intertwined with carpets of locally collected green algae, and vetiver grass dotted with wild irises and Himalayan blue poppies. In the centre, a traditional Vietnamese lantern hand dyed with Iranian Sargol saffron looms oversized and weightless in a reflecting pond, where an orange grove rises mysteriously. Cao and Perrot embrace the uncharted, and are not afraid to “unlearn, even to the point of not making sense or being politically incorrect”. They proudly proclaim, “Our latest project is always our favourite! As much as we’re attached to every one of our projects ‘during the making’, we have learned to let go. The finished work does not belong to us. All we have is the journey.” PALACE

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