Now open to visitors is the Gardens by the Bay, a full region installation by Maddy (Nibby Riddler), who is perhaps best known for her Eclectica homestead region designs (which you can read about here and here). It is a stunning installation, rooted in the physical world, but with its own unique flavour, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say it is a must see.
The inspiration for the design comes from Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, a nature park spanning 101 hectares (250 acres) of reclaimed land in central Singapore. First announced in 2005, it is designed as Singapore’s permier outdoor recreation space, and a spearhead in the drive to transform the city-state from a “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden”.
Working with far less than 250 acres, Maddy has beautifully captured the essence of the Gardens by the Bay, reproducing many of its iconic elements. Central to the design is the magnificent Supertree Grove. Vertical gardens in their own right, rising up to 50 metres (162 ft) into the air, these massive structures are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and bromeliaceae. They also perform a variety of functions to support the gardens around them. Just as an elevated walkway connects them in the physical world, so to does a similar walkway loop Maddy’s Supertrees, allowing visitors to gain a panoramic view of the gardens below.
Linked by a series of paths, the ground level gardens bring together elements found across all three of the major areas of the original, encapsulating so much of beauty, fauna and architecture without the region every feeling overcrowded, A note card is provided at the landing point to help visitors navigate around, and I thoroughly recommend taking it and reading it before starting any exploration.
Another aspect of the original offered to visitors is a representation of one of the massive greenhouses, home to a rich and colourful spread of flora. The famous Audemars Piguet Floral Clock, unveiled on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Singapore independence in 2015, is also represented, as are the giant silvery ants which younger visitors to Singapore’s gardens find so irresistible – and so much more.
With places to sit and admire, opportunities to dance and capturing the essence of all three major areas of the original, Maddy’s Gardens by the Bay is – in a word – magnificent. While the images here are all taken with minor tweaks to the default windlight for the region, the gardens lend themselves perfectly to other windlight settings, and are exceptionally photogenic.
Absolutely not something to be missed, Gardens by the Bay will remain open through until the end of June 2017. My thanks to Maddy for the personal invitation she extended to Caitlyn and I to pay a visit.
- Gardens by the Bay (LEA 15, rated: Moderate)