PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Making A Canvas For People To Walk On: Bridget Baines of GrossMax

Piranesi drawing provides inspiration for fire escape garden
Drawing by Mark Dion of fire scape garden
Fair Street Housing Association
The installation is composed of fire escapes alongside a gable wall whihc utilises this three dimensinal structure as a support for a vertical garden.  The various plantings represent diffeerent conditions of London.  The plantings also include reference to the local breweries:  hop will wind up the staircases.  Other plants represent the import herbs and spices, historically shipped to nearby docks. 
Bridget Baines of GROSSMAX
is interested in Stitching THE CITY Together 
by whatever means possible. 



Drawing inspiration from a Piranesi drawing, working with Mark Dion, mining the history of Kew Gardens, or thinking about genetically modifying plant material are all ways of animating space for GrossMax.  

On Monday, October 18, Bridget Baines animated the room at the first lecture of the New York Botanical Gardens Landscape Design Series.

 Garden For A Plant Collector
GARDEN FOR A PLANT COLLECTOR:  The plants in each greenhouse are the same,
but the glass is a different color in each box.
Most landscape architects don’t like competitions, but not Bridget Baines.  Her firm looks for competitions. “Competitions allow us to work provactively: to experiment and push the boundaries.”  GrossMax starts with conceptual images and these concepts become the touchstone for making gardens
that tell the story of a place.  As Baines said she is making a canvas for people to walk on.
 
A Maternity Hospital was torn down to build the current park.  The hospital was an important landmark in the community.  People were connected to it.  GrossMax saved some of the stones from the hospital to incorporate them into this wall in the park.
Research and History seem as important to Bridget Baines as plants and topography.  
Conceptual starting point for Potters Field Park.  Reconnecting the site with the past:  the pattern of the fence relates to the history of the place.  English Delft tiles were made in this community.
The Reality

Baines’ interest in art and how artists think about space is evidenced in all GrossMax’s projects and conceptual drawings.  Referencing the comment by German aritst, Joseph Beuys in the film Dutch Light, that the Dutch had lost “their liquid light,”  Baines has certainly not lost hers.  
_________________________________________
Bridget Baines
GrossMax
Landscape Design Portfolio Series 2010
New York Botanical Garden
October 18

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