JimGarand has re-opened his Homestead region of Grauland with a further iteration of its looks; one that brings a new face to the region whilst also offering echoes of past designs.
For this iteration, the region has been split into two islands, each with its own particular look, although both make excellent use of Alex Bader’s modular cliff sets to give them form. The smaller of the two sits roughly rectangular in shape, and is home to the Stonehenge seen in the last iteration of the region (see: Art and a fort in Second Life), with the region’s signature “Giant’s Causeway” (via Cube Republic’s Basalt columns set) on its west side.
Broad and flat and the home of wild flowers, this island is connected to its larger, L-shaped cousin via a truss bridge of an exceptionally sturdy build. This spans the intervening channel to arrive at the region’s landing point with its customary teleport to Jim’s sky-borne store.
Topped by woods and trees, this larger island descends in tiers from the north plateau to the south-west beach. Three furnished houses occupy these major elevations, two of them – to the north end of the island an in the mid-elevation comprising somewhat blocky designs that help them feel a part of the block-like nature of the plateaus on which they sit. However, in terms of position, the mid-level and beach-level houses are perhaps the most striking, as they bracket the island’s most interesting aspect: what might be called a “concrete garden”.
Built partially over water, this is a curious and engaging feature, comprising a rich mix of elements: a maze of cube-shaped rooms, a glass-domed pavilion with sculpture within it, seating areas marked by oak and ash trees in planters, water features and stepping stones and the regimented lines of cement blocks that formed a part of the Grauland landscape when we first visited it in March 2019 (see: Art as a landscape in Second Life). There’s more here waiting to be seen, but that will suffice for a brief introduction.
This garden area both forms an artistic statement in its design and contains art. The maze of cube rooms, for example stands more as an artistic statement than a puzzle as the ways through are easy enough, but in winding one’s way through the rooms will reveal paintings and graffiti on the walls and carefully placed items of furniture. There’s also the sculpture within the pavilion, more sculpture in the open; even the position of a large angular rock (courtesy of Alex’s Bader’s Zen garden kit) is offered as a part of the art in the setting.
Further statues and sculptures lie at various points around the landscape – overlooking the waters, sitting with the trees, etc., that further add depth to the region. Even the rounded stones and rocks on the west beach, mixed with curved cement walls and a line of marching turtles, make a unique, artistic statement.
As well as extending out to the west, the beach also forms a separator between the higher elevations of the large island, splitting them in two with a narrow ribbon of sand spanned above by an arched bridge. This path leads to a further ribbon of beach running south-to-north along the region’s eastern side and around the island’s south side.
Each of the Grauland designs has always had a certain attraction about it – not just photogenically, but in the overall approach and layout. This is certainly the case here as well, whilst a sense of romance is added through the inclusion of dance systems around the landscape.
I’ve always enjoyed Grauland’s various looks, but there is is something about this design that I find particularly engaging. It has a pot-pourri of elements – Stonehenge, rugged islands concrete constructs, water features – that stand individually as focal points to be appreciated by those visiting, whilst also flowing together as a very natural whole. There is also the considered mix of the “new” and the “old” (in terms of previous designs) that is sure to appeal to those who are familiar with the region’s past iterations.
- Grauland (Mobile, rated Adult)