New York Botanical Garden’s new artist residencies connect people with plants

May 10, 2019 by  
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Despite its irrefutable success — founded in 1891 and now receiving one million visitors a year — the New York Botanical Garden’s staff tirelessly finds innovative ways to stimulate visitors’ connection to nature. This year, it launched a new artist residency program, inviting internationally acclaimed visual artist Michele Oka Doner and sought-after composer Angélica Negrón to be the first participants. “People come to nature in different ways,” Barbara Corcoran, NYBG’s vice president for continuing and public education, told Inhabitat. “Some people come to the garden and they’re very observant, they really see the plants, they read the labels, and they have quite a good knowledge. They’re gardeners themselves or they’re naturalists.” Others might need extra help connecting. “ Music and art are two ways to do that,” she said. Carrie Rebora Barratt, who became CEO and president of the garden in 2018, came up with the residency idea. Her training as an art historian and museum administrator and her previous position at the Metropolitan Museum of Art had shown her the value of artist residencies. Michele Oka Doner Love of nature fuels Michele Oka Doner’s five decades of artwork. This is apparent as soon as you walk into her SoHo studio. “It’s like a treasure trove of nature,” Corcoran said. “She’s a collector of natural objects and archaeological finds like fossils and little bird skulls, like dozens of them, and old stone tools and shells and nature books. So this is like a laboratory. When you go there, you really get to see what she’s all about.” Doner’s past works include “A Walk on the Beach,” composed of 9,000 bronze starfish, sand dollars, coral and other sea-inspired sculptures embedded in the concourse at Miami International Airport. Her installation at the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory in Munich includes 400 shamanistic sculptures . She’s still developing her ideas for the site-specific work she’ll create at the New York Botanical Garden . Related: Second Nature transforms abandoned fishing nets into 3D-printed seashells and bowls On June 12, Doner will give a free talk at the garden called “Ecstatic Nutrition: The Trees of My Life” about three trees that greatly influenced her. “It kicks off our Wellness Wednesdays, which we have through the summer,” Corcoran said.  “Michele is a close observer of nature and a fine storyteller. She has this kind of enchantment with the natural world and its sacredness, and it really comes across. I think it will be very inspiring to hear her talk.” Angélica Negrón Composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón is a classically trained violinist who is well-known for her electronic music. Much of her work includes nontraditional instruments, such as toys, music boxes and electrodes hooked up to vegetables. A YouTube video shows Negrón in a market, lining up vegetables on a shelf to gauge their aesthetic as well as musical potential.  “I try to find vegetables or fruits that match the textures of the songs. I do love cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli, vegetables that have kind of design element. I call it a vegetable synth,” she said in the video. “I try to coordinate it so it all looks like part of the same instrument.” Corcoran said that both artists are interested in science and technology. Negrón has met with a New York Botanical Garden scientist and horticulturalist to learn more about tree communication. “ Trees communicate largely through their roots,” Corcoran said. “That’s all very fascinating to her.” Negrón has already performed twice at the garden, delighting the public with her vegetable synth. “She assigns each vegetable with a different note,” Corcoran explained. “And then when she touches them, the water in those fruits and plants and vegetables conduct the electricity that creates the notes. By tapping different vegetables, she creates a musical piece.” She also adds in acoustic and electronic instruments and found sounds for a result Corcoran describes as “soothing and mesmerizing.” Negrón’s residency will culminate in November with a world-premiere performance in the Thain Family Forest. “We’ll have several choruses here,” Corcoran said. “So it’s a mix of live choral music with sounds that are coming from the trees. I think that’s going to be a real artistic happening that you wouldn’t want to miss if you’re in New York in the fall. Plus, it’s in the old growth forest at a beautiful time of year.” Visiting the garden The New York Botanical Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday year-round, plus occasional holiday Mondays. In addition to leisurely strolling and soaking up the beauty, there’s always something going on. Activities range from the extremely practical — learning to repot orchids — to something as celebratory as the Brazil-themed World Pride Night in June. The botanical garden is a vital center for plant research. Its herbarium contains 7.8 million specimens, and it employs about 200 PhD-level scientists and support staff who travel the world to collect plants and bring them back for study. But most of all, it’s a place where busy urbanites can spend time in nature . “It’s a real oasis for people,” Corcoran said. “And I think now more than ever, people need that.” + New York Botanical Garden Images via NYBG and Ben Hider / NYBG

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Minimalist home in northern Spain uses geothermal energy to reduce energy consumption

May 10, 2019 by  
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There are few things we love more than a gorgeous minimalist design that boasts energy-efficiency features, and Barcelona-based firm, Pepe Gascón Arquitectura,  has managed to combine the two beautifully. Located just east of Barcelona, the Elvira&Marcos House is a minimalist, all-white rectangular volume with slender windows, surrounded by a natural landscape of overgrown grass and wildflowers. The home’s minimalist design conceals an extremely tight insulative shell and geothermal energy system to reduce the home’s energy consumption. The 2,475 square foot home was built on a lot that was slated for development years ago, before Spain’s economy was hit by the economic crisis. Today, the Elvira & Marcos home is the only residence in the area, adding a touch of mysterious solitude to the gorgeous home design. Related: Geothermal-powered Forest House showcases sustainable features in Maryland The all-white, rectangular-shaped home is surrounded by a plot made up of overgrown greenery that partially hides the home from view. According to the architects, leaving the landscape in its wild state was a strategic move to create “a house with a clear geometry but without resorting to unnecessary gestures, offering a forceful interpretation with a certain neutrality in the midst of the surrounding heterogeneity.” The exterior of the home is made out of flexible stucco finish that comes with an integral Exterior Thermal Insulation System (SATE), creating a tight insulative shell for the structure. In addition to the exterior insulation, the SATE system was also used in the roof to avoid energy-wasting thermal bridges. The end result is an extremely tight envelope, that, together with a geothermal energy system installed, drastically reduces the home’s energy consumption. The interior of the three-story home is connected by an large interior steel staircase that holds court in the middle of the kitchen. The home’s minimalist aesthetic continues throughout the home’s open layout with all-white walls and a continuous concrete floor. Natural light shines into the living area from the slender slat windows— which is made even more open and airy thanks to its double height ceilings. + Pepe Gascón Arquitectura Via Design Milk Photography by Aitor Estévez via Pepe Gascón Arquitectura  

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See Chihulys dazzling glass art take over the New York Botanical Garden

May 8, 2017 by  
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A magical garden of glass has bloomed at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). In more than a decade, world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly brought his breathtaking glass art installations back to New York with a major new exhibition called CHIHULY. With over 20 installations, the dazzling exhibition’s bright colors and organic forms are an incredible sight to behold—and even more so when illuminated at night. Unveiled late April, the new CHIHULY experience celebrates the artist’s process and legacy with over 20 installations as well as drawings and early works. The larger-than-life sculptures are seamlessly integrated into the garden’s many backdrops and include a new monumental work set within the Native Plant Garden water features and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyard’s Tropical Pool. Chihuly’s artworks are all made from hand-blown glass , plastic, and water inside a Seattle workshop and draw inspiration from organic shapes found in nature. Their whimsical charm and dynamic appearance imparts an atmosphere not unlike the fictional worlds of Alice in Wonderland or Willy Wonka. The exhibition took two years of coordination between the NYBG and Chihuly. Related: Ray Villafane’s Crazy Zombie Pumpkins and Ghouls Return to the New York Botanical Garden The dramatic sculptures will be open through to October 29, 2017. The botanical garden also offers select Chihuly Nights when visitors can see the installations lit up in the evening and enjoy special performances, themed cocktails, and concerts. + NYBG Images via NYBG

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INFOGRAPHIC: 7 best botanical gardens from around the world

February 22, 2016 by  
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No great city is complete without a botanical garden . Housed within gorgeous glass architecture, botanical gardens are rich in history and a great diversity of plants. Even better, these beautiful blooms can be enjoyed year-round and are particularly fantastic to tour in winter. Fairmont rounded up seven of the most spectacular gardens from around the world, from stunning Kew Gardens in London to Singapore’s tropical botanical garden, along with interesting trivia. Keep reading to see them all. + Fairmont The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Sollys is an all-in-one solar lamp with speaker and smartphone charging pad

February 22, 2016 by  
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Alexander Main has released a design for what he describes “as a new innovative approach of solar technology integration in home devices.” Solar power has long been referred to as the future source of sustainable energy, but its slow mass adoption has been caused not only due to its higher cost and its poor aesthetics. Sollys lamp takes a different approach. Alexander explains: “I wanted to meld the solar cell with the lamp’s design in such a way that it becomes invisible.” To achieve this look, a single, fully round/black solar cell was used, creating a unified structure. Additionally, Sollys features remarkable added functionalities including a 10-watt Bluetooth speaker, a dimmable 256-color LED light, a hidden wireless charging pad for smartphones, a light/sound alarm function, a leather strap for easy carrying and a removable 4×3.7 volt battery pack. + Sollys on Behance The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Sollys is an all-in-one solar lamp with speaker and smartphone charging pad

Fascinating New Greenhouse at Aarhus Botanical Garden Changes Transparency at Different Pressures

January 13, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Fascinating New Greenhouse at Aarhus Botanical Garden Changes Transparency at Different Pressures Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: botanical garden design , C. F. Møller Architekten , danish architecture , energy-efficient botanical garden Denmark , energy-efficient greenhouse , ETFE cushions , ETFE dome Aarhus , formTL engineers , green architecture , greenhouses        

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Fascinating New Greenhouse at Aarhus Botanical Garden Changes Transparency at Different Pressures

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