MIANG's SYNTHETIC WILDERNESS
The front yard is typically thought of as a place for lawns and plants, but how might it be more? Our approach to this challenge is to think beyond the static or decorative to consider how your yard can become an active and evolving ecology that reflects your life.
As product designers and curators of your own domestic space, you already have an eye for the collection and curation of objects. You see the precious in the mundane, and playfully collect and display the fragments of the everyday. The richness of your interior space already reflects this. But what if we could turn this impulse inside out? What would it mean for the front yard to be conceived as a living and evolving time capsule that embraced objects, materials, and physical fragments of memory as a means of generating landscape?
THE SHRINE WALL
The shrine wall provides a sacred and semi-public space for you to curate a dynamic portrait of everyday life through objects and fragments. This feature takes the form of a hollow, clear plexiglass cavity wall that provides a means of collection and display. An opening at the top of the wall allows domestic “relics” to be added incrementally over time, evolving to reflect the shifting realities and ecologies in the family. Specific items might range from domestic detritus such as discarded toys, trinkets and broken ceramic fragments, to shells, stones or polished glass collected from family trips to the beach.
As the cavity is filled with material, a gap at the bottom of the wall provides an escape for older fragments, which are accumulated, dispersed and metabolized into the larger landscape.
These materials scatter and dissipate and absorb but never fully erased, evoking traces of shared memories which can be read across the site.
But what about the plants? We’re glad you asked. Rather than plant anything intentionally, our approach to plant growth in the landscape is to attract and nurture spontaneously emerging plant communities that don’t require water and maintenance to establish themselves and thrive. We hope to attract these plants with the addition of a field of objects we call “gators” (short for “ecological instigators”) which add visual, textual and ecological variation and disturbance into the ecosystem of the yard.
SPONTANEOUS COLONIZATION AND EMERGENCE
These objects will be carefully designed and constructed of papercrete or hypertufa, which are both intentionally temporary and ecologically performative. The gators will absorb water and provide holes, crannies, and niches for seeds and spores to attach to and express themselves. This process will take some time, and will be aided by the natural seed dispersal, animals and human foot traffic. Botanical stragglers from adjacent yards, common weeds of los angeles, mosses, wildflowers, and others.
As the objects deform and dissolve through the seasons, they give rise to mature and evolving plant communities that begin to further insinuate themselves into the larger landscape. An Intricate dance unfolds between the artifice of objects and the forces of time and change that recasts them as landscape. The front yard becomes a dynamic synthetic wilderness and a living time capsule that reflects the unique history of the Miang family.