A formerly inaccessible paved area has been transformed into a hypnotizing pattern of intertwining circles made from stone brick at the South London Gallery. Tokyo-based artist Gabriel Orozco designed this space as the new permanent garden for the contemporary art gallery in collaboration with 6a architects and horticulturists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The modern garden draws influences from sculpture, drawing, photography and video to create a textured gathering space that can be used for multiple activities.
Created over the past two years, the South London Gallery’s new garden features Orozco’s recurring circle motif and tensions between symmetry and asymmetry. The circles are laid out in brick-dimensioned York stone, some of which were reclaimed from the newly opened up rear facade. The cool color palette and materials are a nod to the gallery’s Victorian architecture. The different levels into the landscape create seating, planting space, water feature areas, and more.
Inspired by the idea of urban ruin, Orozco intends for the garden to become overgrown with different grasses, low-level creepers, and fragrant plants over time. A key feature of the space is the planted walkway that connects the garden to the Sceaux Gardens housing estate. “From my first visit I was impressed by the SLG’s commitment to its local community and neighbourhood and intrigued by the relationship between the garden space and its different audiences, and the idea of creating something which could provide an inspiring platform for all of them,” said Orozco. “I started to think about various geometries emerging from the architecture surrounding the space and how they might be re-integrated into it as the basis of a design. It has been a fascinating process working directly with the gallery, architects and horticulturalists to develop the plans for the work which I am excited to see become a reality.” The garden is open to the public during the weekends and is used by invited groups on weekdays.
Images by Andy Stagg