A Glimpse of Paradise


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In response to Reford Garden’s request for contemporary gardens encompassing the theme of “paradise,” LAB designed a garden centered on the relationship between life and paradise. The journey through life is an indeterminate one; painful, we fear, pleasant, we hope. Many traditions hold out the assurance of a Paradise at the end of this journey. Some of the concepts are more explicit than others but all of them involve relief from the tribulations of life, from the Christian promise of eternal abundance to the Buddhist promise of a peaceful and limitless merging of the self with the Absolute. What they all share is the impossibility of inhabiting paradise while we still live. The visitor, when entering the site, finds him/herself in a grid of trees in stone dust, some of which have plants at their bases. There is no designated path. The visitor, wandering through the grove, can see a structure at the far end of the grove—Paradise, a mirrored cube, pure and insubstantial. There is a portal, large enough for one’s head, to view into, but not enter, Paradise. The interior is also mirrored, with a pool that reflects the sky, receding into infinity.

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