Thursday 14 September 2017

"Tree Canopy": Art Work at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore

  We were invited to the Tower Wing of Shangri-La Hotel Singapore two days ago to work on part of the art installation of "Tree Canopy" by Japanese artists Hirotoshi and Nami Sawada. It was such a wonderful experience and I wanted to share some of the magic with you.

Wefie with my mum, Joni Toh.

And a bathroom selfie before the event.
  The instillation is the first thing you see once you step into the lobby. Shangri-La has completely renovated this tower, with the idea to bring nature indoors. And Tree Canopy reflects that idea by being inspired by leaves blowing in the wind. I also see it as a flock of birds. What do you see?

  If you look closely, you can see the little tags that are in place to mark where the last few "leaves" are meant to be hung.

  Here's a video for you to get a scale of how large the art work is. I spoke to Nami Sawada at the event and he told me that this was his largest instillation yet. He also told me that it took Studio Sawada Design a total of seven days to completely put up all 2000+ pieces. Amazing.

  I thought that the leaves are made of metal, but apparently that's not the case. They're made of flexible plastic because Sawada needed the art work to be light enough to be hung up into the ceiling using fishing lines. These fishing lines are not visible from the dining area at the Tower Wing which just adds to the magic of the art work. I really love those shadows on the ceiling,

  At the dining area, we had a tea-time meal whilst taking in the nature that surrounded us. There were potted trees (actual trees!), an infinity pool, and six sculptures of children scattered around the lobby. The most impressive, though, was the floor to ceiling basalt rock that had tropical ferns and mosses tucked between them. It stood as a backdrop to the bar area and what a sight it was. Almost like a three-dimensional painting made out of plants instead of paints.

  The tea-time meal was equally wonderful with bite-sized portions of local delights such as ondeh ondeh filled with a sweet filling, fa gao that was more fluffy than what I was used to, kuehs, satays, and a durian cream tart that smelled like an entire durian had been opened right in front of you. Everything was so lovely.

  Look at the tiny ang ku kueh! Ahhh~ It's so cute and small and yet so detailed.

  The kaya spread was SO good. As was the satay. And in case you hadn't noticed, all the plates (and even the sugar pot) are made to resemble traditional Peranakan wares. My maternal grandmother is actually a Nyonya so this was a delight, and such a great to tie the food to Singapore roots.

  After the meal, we headed back to the lobby area to put up the final pieces of Tree Canopy. The "leaves" of the art work are of different tones— shiny silver, matte silver, and gold. Sawada also told me that the design of the art work went through a number of ideas, going from water droplets, to orchids (our national flower), and eventually to plants. It took four months from conception of the design, to production, and finally to setting up the entire art work.

  I am so thrilled and honoured to have been allowed the opportunity to put up one of the last few pieces of Tree Canopy. Here's a set of pictures showing the moment.
We climbed up a cherry picker (yes, that's actually what it's called).

Going up!

You can see the little squares of paper that denote where each piece is meant to go.

What you can't see, though, is the fishing lines that we are holding...

Hirotoshi explaining to us how to hang up the "leaf".


*claps claps claps*

That was quick! Going down, now... Steady as she goes.

  It was fun. And every time I visit Shangri-La from hereon, I can say that *that* particular leaf was hung up by me. :)  Go see Tree Canopy for yourself (and the six children sculptures, and the indoor potted trees, and the magic stone wall) at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. Perhaps even order the same tea-time set I had, I highly recommend it.

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