Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ken Smith Lecture at HSNY

 It was a brief yet memorable talk at the Horticultural Society of New York ( December 4th. 
And so accordingly, this posting will likewise be brief (and dare I hope, memorable J)

The landscape architecture featured lecture was conducted by no less than the always-edgy and provocative, Ken Smith
Archinect news refers to Ken as the “Elvis Costello of landscape architecture.”  How apropos!

Such a landscape luminary attracted an SRO audience.  On a Friday evening. In December.  In New York City!  That’s star power…

The night of the lecture I was lucky on two counts – make that three.  Because my husband and I were invited to my girlfriend Corinne’s holiday party for her successful company, City Frame,  

By the way, Corinne and her partner, Elena, are amazing – so talented and generous.  Their City Frame work was featured in a recent edition of Vogue, “Holiday Gifts under $500” for the framing work of Hugo Guinness’ limited edition prints they frame.  The silhouette-styled prints are available through the Conde Nast online store.  Check it out and order up some for-real garden glamour:

Back to the lecture.  Since I was staying in town Friday night as opposed to taking the earlier ferry back to the Garden State – and just like that – I was able to scoot uptown and take advantage of the schedule to attend the Hort Society lecture. 
And I got the chance to meet up with EunYoung Sebazco – the super talented horticultural professional I’ve had the privilege work with for the last six+ years.  EunYoung, aka Silver Flower which is what her name means in Korean --  (How utterly charming is that?)

She is a leader as part of the Duchess Designs, LLC Fine Gardening team -- getting the other talented hort professionals to participate on the team -- we all rely on her measured and vast knowledge of plants.  And the clients love her - almost as much as I do :)

Silver Flower designs gardens, containers, restaurant displays; she is an outstanding garden photographer, produces her own line of garden calendars, and recently she and her father introduced a fun and educational Rubik’sรข cube-like Puzzle. Erno Rubik was a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture -- and EunYoung is a landscape architect (and graduated tops in her class from The New York Botanical Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture) and her father is an acclaimed architect in Korea.  I wish them as much success with their invention as the 1974 Rubik invention!

OK; now back to the lecture…
Ken was promoting his new book, “Ken Smith, Landscape Architect” from Monacello Press, with an introduction by John Beardsley.
Available from Amazon. 
That evening, one could buy the book and get it signed by Ken.  Always better to attend the event!

About the book from Amazon Reviews:
"An essential for anyone interested in the cutting edge of landscape and garden design . . . Smith’s own introductions to the projects are concise, unpretentious and mercifully jargon-free, while John Beardsley’s measured introduction puts the work in its context without resort to flattery or hype."
—The Daily Telegraph

"If there's one thing for certain about the gardens designed by landscape architect Ken Smith, it's that you'll never forget the ones you've experienced, whether in person or on the printed page."

Product Description
Both a landscape designer and a public artist, Ken Smith produces designs that range in scale from small public installations to vast parks. He is known for inventive and imaginative gardens and landscapes, some of which use little or no natural plant material. His projects include public, commercial, and private work: urban parks, streetscapes, plazas, gardens, public art commissions, memorials, museums and institutions, urban development and multiuse projects, restoration of modern-era landscapes, waterfront planning and design, and residential projects.

Among Smith’s best-known projects are the MoMA Roof Garden, consisting of white gravel, recycled black rubber, crushed glass, sculptural stones, and artificial boxwood plants in a camouflage pattern; the Elevated Acre, a one-acre urban plaza with a sloping topography of planted dunes and an elevated view of New York Harbor; and Orange County Great Park, California, a redevelopment of a Marine Corps air station to include a 2.5-mile canyon, 20-acre lake, cultural terrace, botanical gardens, great lawn, performing arts venue, veterans memorial, aircraft museum, sports park, nature preserve, and wildlife corridor.

Following an introduction by George Pisegna,

Ken’s talk shimmied through the broad-brush strokes of his work in the urban environment.  And Ken’s unique sense of humor sparkled like the tree in Rockefeller Center -- and his bon mots peppered the talk to make for a fun and informative evening. 

Of course every lecture of Ken's features exciting, multi-media visuals! 

the MoMA work is truly inspired:

a little difficult to see here - (get the book!) but Ken showcased his garden inspiration using dumpsters ^:^

Ken showed how he visits the nursery to select the plants first-hand - here he is reviewing the trees - he was looking for ones that would retain the leaves in winter:

Here is a whimsical garden note  -- he retained the utility poles and crowned them with candy-colored birdhouses! So cute and pollinator-friendly.  Bird watching has never been this much fun in an urban setting...

Following the talk, Ken autographed books for the attendees:

And here I am with Ken, the Landscape Architect super star.  (or is it really, Elvis Costello?!)

Thank you, Ken. And the Horticultural Society. 
Be sure to check out their exciting line up for 2010 – a whole new decade of Green….

From here, it was on to the party for me. The first of the 2009 Holiday season!