安迪·曹 泽维尔·帕罗特 撰文
Andy CAO & Xavier PERROT
申亚男 章健玲 译
Translated by SHEN Ya-nan and ZHANG Jian-ling
2005年底，曹和杰伦关闭了玻璃卵石的生产生意。经过五年的合作，安迪·曹和泽维尔·帕罗特决定在洛杉矶和巴黎正式开办曹 | 帕罗特事务所，主要从事景观和艺术装置的设计，通常两者都是结合进行的。
曹 | 帕罗特工作室的作品在纽约库珀-休伊特国立设计博物馆举办的“当代设计生活“2006年国家设计三年展上展示。这个展览每三年举办一次，涉及广泛行业，汇集众多美国最具创意的设计师作品。
2007年，曹 | 帕罗特工作室获得由国际材质资料库颁发的卓越媒介奖。国际材质资料库在纽约举办一个研讨会，庆祝该资料库10年来在材料研制开发取得的创新成就。
最近曹 | 帕罗特工作室获得了三项在西雅图举办的公共艺术设计竞赛的胜利，其中两个将于今年完成。一个是位于西雅图安妮皇后街区艺术公园的设计。公园里有一处湿地正在慢慢消失，7个拉长的水滴状雕塑从湿地中升起，为环境设计增添几分艺术气息，突出公园以艺术家为主导的设计风格。
Cao | Perrot Studio’s work has always been about total environments; a blending of landscape and art to create a place for dreaming.
By drawing on their diverse cultural backgrounds (Andy Cao is from Vietnam and Xavier Perrot from Bretagne, France)（Fig.01), the duo creates a unique and seamless blending of East and West that adapts perfectly to a global perspective. Their landscape environments and art installations invite the viewer into a contemplative world of color, mood and sensuality.
And while Cao and Perrot resist labeling their work with “meaning” or categorizations, the real narrative of each project—its story—often comes from the process of creation itself.
Cao | Perrot Studio is known for a low tech, artisan’s approach to environmental art installations and landscape design. They employ sustainable, readily available recycled materials and a simple planting palette to create their colorful, evocative outdoor spaces. The approach is spontaneous, instinctive, highly intuitive, and labor intensive. Suggestions of moods and memory, the passage of time and impermanence are typically the subtext signature of Cao-Perrot’s work.
The Glass Garden (1998) (Fig.02), was Andy Cao’s first project created in the small back yard of his Los Angeles home, and refers to the memories of his childhood in Vietnam.
“When I was ten years old, my family moved from busy, urban Saigon to my grandmother’s farm. Suddenly I was surrounded by ancient icons: vast rice fields set in a patchwork grid of mud banks; and the rituals of harvest as we piled rice along Highway One to dry in the humid sun.”
There were contemporary icons, too: giant metal skeletons in the form of rusting armaments left over from the war, which still dot the Vietnamese countryside today. Cao also remembers the strange reflecting landscape of salt farms, their surreal expanse of white cones changing with the light. He included all these images in the Glass Garden. The surprise was Cao’s painterly blending of materials combined with the unusual allegorical layout that ultimately blurred the line between landscape and art.
Using a minimal but lush subtropical plant palette with swaths of vibrant colors from forty-five tons of crushed and tumbled recycled glass, Cao was able to transcend all literal references and created a stylized Vietnamese landscape that was soothing and dreamlike. Visitors enjoyed the other-worldly experience of a glistening oasis—particularly in moonlight—while treading on paths of gems. Depending on the time of day, the glass pebbles created a unique, chameleon atmosphere, which gave the garden a profound sense of mood, weightlessness, and silence.
The Glass Garden launched Andy Cao’s career as a landscape designer. It brought an incredible amount of press and television coverage and caught the attention of Anne-Marie Dubois Dumee , owner of the high end fashion boutique Maxfield in Los Angeles. Dumee commissioned Cao to create a window installation(Fig.03) for her fashionable store on Melrose Avenue.
Soon after, Cao met hotelier Andre Balazs whom gave Cao his first landscape commission: a year-long restoration of the three acre gardens at the historic Chateau Marmont Hotel(Fig.04), an eighty-year-old Hollywood landmark. Balazs also brought Cao in to enhance the existing landscape and create an installation in the lobby of his new and trendy Standard Hotel, on the famous Strip of Sunset Boulevard.
In response to a growing call for the recycled glass pebbles showcased in the original Glass Garden, Andy Cao and his business partner, New Zealand born photographer Stephen Jerrom, started a second business in Los Angeles manufacturing tumbled (safe to handle) glass pebbles for decorative landscape applications.
Unintentionally, they had created a new landscape material, and a popular new trend: recycled glass pebbles for the garden. Their customers were not only local nurseries and home gardeners across the United States, but corporate and civic clients who included many tons of glass pebbles into their own landscape designs for roof gardens, office buildings and university campuses.
After the success of the Glass Garden, Cao and Jerrom received a research grant from the Charles Lindbergh Foundation to further explore new product potentials of recycled glass. They developed a line of glass tile prototypes(Fig.05) made from a variety of recycled glass materials as a way of demonstrating how otherwise discarded glass could be diverted from landfills.
Upon close viewing, the tile still carried the trace “memory” of their glass origin, be it wine bottles, industrial marbles or discarded window glass. Conceived for large-scale architectural or interior design applications, the glass tile prototypes received much praise, including the Medium Award from material’s library Material ConneXion, where it is on display in New York.
In 2001, Andy Cao created Desert Sea(Fig.06), a theatrical outdoor environment at the Chaumont- sur-Loire International Garden Festival in France.
Drawing inspirations from several cultural influences including Vietnamese water puppets, African adornments, and the dry garden of Ryoan-ji in Kyoto, Japan, Cao took the Festival’s theme of Mosaiculture (Carpet Bedding) one step further. He incorporated recycled glass as ground cover, and introduced hand-blown glass elements: so called “desert bubbles”. Ornamental succulents and cactus were planted in unexpected places, and Cao wrapped the entire garden with miles of Manila rope.
It was in Chaumont that Cao met his future design partner, Xavier Perrot.
The year 2001 was a transformative one for Andy Cao. It was the year that he won the Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. This prestigious Fellowship gave Cao the greatest gift of all—the luxury of time—and the opportunity to spend an unhurried year in Rome, with complete freedom to explore and contemplate; to immerse himself in the history and culture of Rome.
Sharing the Fellowship with his new assistant and future design partner Xavier Perrot, the experience of living in Rome was influential in many ways. Absorbing Rome’s sensual splendors was an education in itself. Then, for the Academy’s summer exhibition, Cao and Perrot created another complete environment they called simply Red Box(Fig.07).
Inspired by the rich history and colorful atmosphere of both ancient and modern day Rome, Cao and Perrot embraced the city’s decadent past as well as its erotic undercurrents.
The all-white, high-ceiling studio was painted in Chinese red. To mark the entrance, grass was planted vertically on the exterior wall, and completely covered the studio floor. In Los Angeles, Cao’s business partner Stephen Jerrom oversaw the fabrication of twenty glass panels made from recycled medicine bottles. These were shipped to Italy, and suspended as a floating and moveable wall in the studio.
Coils of incense were sent from Vietnam and hung from the ceiling. Haunting Middle Eastern music composed by Music Fellow Derek Bermel resonated through the big studio space; and a Roman foot masseuse was brought in to encourage a contemplative respite amid the sensual overload.
The installation also spilled out of the studio into the front courtyard of the century-old Academy building where nine tons of cobalt blue, recycled glass pebbles (shipped from Los Angeles) replaced the existing gravel. On opening night, Cao-Perrot invited a street mime to be the outdoor centerpiece, placing her in the middle of the fountain as a living sculpture.
Back in Los Angeles after a year in Italy, Cao and Perrot started to venture into public art. They continued to explore new materials, specifically fishing line (monofilament), which led to their first public art installation titled Cocoons (2003) (Fig.08).
Situated on a jetty in the San Francisco Bay across from the Golden Gate Bridge, the team created a series of randomly placed oversize cocoons. These large forms were wrapped with colorful strands of monofilament and spun in the wind. From a distance, the cocoons resembled giant moored balloons that glowed from within.
Cao-Perrot’s dream of exploring the more ephemeral qualities in landscape were realized when they received the invitation to create a site specific installation for the Cornerstone Festival of Gardens, located in the wine country of Sonoma, California. Cornerstone Festival of Gardens was the first contemporary and experimental garden festival in the US, and modeled after Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival in France.
For the Cornerstone Festival of Gardens, the team created Lullaby Garden (2004) (Fig.09). Due to budget constraints, and to fulfill Cao’s wishes to highlight the arts-and-crafts of Vietnamese culture, Cao and Perrot decided to have all the materials hand-made in Vietnam.
Inspired by the unique reflective quality of the monofilament they had used for Cocoons, the team wanted to create an entire garden out of this humble material. They traveled to Andy’s home country of Vietnam and after spending days exploring the countryside and knocking on doors in a region known for its weaving, they finally located weavers who would agree to try something new in the name of art. Together they enlisted the help of sixty weavers to hand-knit two hundred carpet sections (1 meter x 1 meter) made of vibrant gold, orange, and blue monofilament.
While in Vietnam, they traveled further South along the Mekong River, visiting a coconut farm and decided to incorporate coconut wood and shells as part of the installation.
Materials were ordered, and the labor-intensive work began. Three months later, bales of finished carpets and a ton of coconut wood and shells were shipped back to Northern California. The carpet sections were hand sewn together with oversize zippers and draped over a sculpted landform at the Cornerstone Festival site.
The entire garden was wrapped with strands of clear monofilament that formed a translucent wall, concealing or revealing the garden depending on the time of day.
Tranquil and delicate, the garden was rich in subtleties. Visitors were invited to take off their shoes to explore or recline on the undulating landscape inspired by the nineteenth-century woodblock prints of the Japanese artist Hokusai. Strains of Vietnamese lullabies by Paris-based musicians Huong Thanh and Nguyen Lê completed the otherworldly experience.
In January 2005, Cao-Perrot were invited to create a temporary art installation(Fig.10) in the historical Medici Fountain located in the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris. The installation was sponsored by the French Senate to celebrate the annual Fête du Mimosa. The installation was made entirely of fresh, winter-blooming yellow Mimosa blossoms suspended on the water by transparent lines of monofilament. Perrot likened the vibrant path to a dreamy, metaphorical lover’s lane.
At the end of 2005, Cao and Jerrom closed the glass pebble manufacturing business. Having collaborated as a team in the past five years, Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot made a decision to officially open Cao | Perrot Studio with offices in Los Angeles and Paris. The team’s focus is on landscape design and art installations, often combining both.
Another very different project on the east coast of North America was one titled Jardin des Hespérides(Fig.11), created for the Metis International Garden Festival in Quebec, Canada (2006). In this garden, the duo embraced the passage of time, memory and impermanence.
Inspired by a recent visit to the city of Hoi-An, Vietnam, a region known for its silk lanterns, Cao and Perrot dreamed of creating an iconic lantern of their own. The traditional shape and frame of Vietnamese lanterns became their mental catalyst.
Set in a reflecting pond, the Hesperides Garden’s centerpiece was a seemingly weightless, oversized lantern (4m tall x 6m diameter), which visitors entered by crossing the wood-cut stepping stone winding through a floating orange grove. The lantern’s frame was made with laminated birch wood, and the entire form was covered in a translucent layer of interfacing lining fabric. The fabric was hand dyed with the precious Iranian Sargol saffron powder to turn a rich luminous orange. The surrounding landscape was dotted with delicate Iris flowers highlighting the undulating carpet of Vetiver grasses.
To heighten the experience of being inside the lantern, Cao-Perrot created a fragrance that emanated gently from a diffuser. This added element came from the team’s interest in olfactory sensations, the site’s history, and the magical alchemy that evokes imaginary worlds through the sense of smell.
Since the garden’s location was situated on a wooded hill overlooking the Saint Laurence river, the fragrance was designed to evoke the memory of walking on a beach, the zest of seaweed crushed under foot , and the intoxicating aroma of incense in a smoke filled temple.
Cao | Perrot Studio work was included in the 2006 National Design Triennial: Design Life Now at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York. The Triennial exhibited the work of the most innovative designers in the U.S. reviewing a wide spectrum of disciplines.
The Triennial catalogue described Cao | Perrot Studio as “creating work that lies between art installation and landscape architecture; the duo of Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot use natural and artificial materials to design environments that transport us beyond the everyday.”
In 2007, Cao | Perrot Studio received the prestigious Medium Award given by the international materials library, The Material ConneXion, during a symposium in New York celebrating the Library’s ten years of material innovation.
Commenting on the Medium Award, Executive Editor Joanna Fortnam of Garden Design magazine wrote: “Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot are both deserving and obvious nominees for the Medium award. Their innovative use of overlooked yet familiar and recyclable materials, such as glass, fishing line, Manila rope and coconut shells plays a key role in their ephemeral yet haunting works, part landscape and part installation. Cao-Perrot transport us from preconceptions of the everyday ‘garden’ to a surreal yet recognizable outdoor world where contemplation or dreaming is the point. It is as if by placing emphasis on the unexpected qualities of everyday materials we discover a fresh sense of place.”
Cao | Perrot Studio recently won three public art competitions in Seattle, two of which will be completed this year. One is the artist-led design of an “Art Park” in the Queen Ann District, Seattle, combining their environmental design with seven sculptures in the form of elongated water droplets rising from the park’s disappearing wetland.
The other is a sculpted meadow, an ephemeral permanent earthwork in the form of oversized pillows covered with the sweet fragrance of Chamomile.
The earthwork is nestled in an elevated walkway connecting a new residential development to the White Center business district.
As Cao and Perrot look to expand their horizons and continue their quest to blend Eastern and Western influences, they welcome opportunities for new projects in Southeast Asia, especially in China and Vietnam.
Maintaining a small studio allows Cao-Perrot greater freedom to stay true to their vision, and provide them with more flexibility and mobility. They hope to keep their focus to a handful of carefully-selected commissions—be they large scale commercial projects, public parks, art installations and private residential landscape design.
The key to Cao-Perrot’s continued artistic and professional growth is through collaboration with like-minded clients and design firms. Over the past ten years they have cultivated relationships with several reputable landscape and architectural firms in the US and abroad. Together they strive to create a new way of experiencing the contemporary landscape with an emphasis on ecology, sustainability and originality.
Andy Cao, male,born in 1965 in Vietnam, is a landscape designer, artist and design partner of cao | perrot studio, New York. He is a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.
Xavier Perrot, male, born in 1980 in Brittany France, is the design partner of cao|perrot studio, Paris. He studied landscape design at Saint-Ilan School in Brittany and the International Conservatory of Gardens in Chaumont-sur-Loire, France.
About the Translators:
SHEN Ya-nan, born in 1983, native of Shanxi Province, is a Grade-2006 graduate of Beijing Forestry University majored in Urban Planning and Design. (Beijing 100083)
ZHANG Jian-ling, female, born in 1983, who got her Bachelor of Arts in English from Sun Yat-sen University, is the English Editor of Landscape Architecture journal. (Shenzhen 518045)