Hortus Desiderata

Hortus Desiderata


Anodised Aluminium, water

600 x 205 x 100 cms


Permanent installation, The Mahogany Room, Crown Casino, Melbourne

Crown Casino Mahogany Room, Architects: Bates Smart McCutcheon


Description of Work

Two gold elements rising out of the water feature plinth, each consisting of two water jet cut 10mm anodised aluminium profiles spaced at 200 mm centers from each other joined by 180mm anodized aluminium spacers.  The spacers have internally threaded inserts at each end which capture a dome headed bolt that passes through the 10mm aluminium sheet on each side forming a structural sandwich.


The base of the elements touches the water surface so that there is a continuous reflection of the form.



The concept is informed by the context of the internal garden within the foyer and the notions of fortune and luck. The intertwining, flowing lines of the two sculptural elements are like Arabesques, referencing ideas about formal garden design where the hard landscaping and the planting conform to the same decorative order and where the relationship between natural forms of plants and the vegetal ornaments of gates, bowers, fountains and other architectural elements is explicit. I also had in mind the idea of the garden as an earthly paradise as depicted in Hieronymous Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights". This surreal landscape is one of the most potent depictions of of pleasure and fulfillment in Western art.

The forms are derived from diverse sources of vegetal ornament; they could be seen to be a distillation of various ethnographic ornamental systems from South East Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Islamic world. They form a dyad or two-part sculptural system; to the viewer their silhouettes play off each other visually. They are also informed by the notion of play and luck. Their intertwined forms suggest the many different possibilities or trajectories that can be generated within any given situation or game. I began designing this structure with the motif of the horseshoe in mind, a universal symbol of luck whose vessel-like form suggests the retention of prosperity and fortune. This motif forms the core of element two.