The Shadow Garden Pavilion sits in a small courtyard at the Shalini Ganendra Fine Art (SGFA) Gallery in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. It was built by students from the School of Architecture, Building & Design (SABD) Taylor’s University Malaysia and the project forms part of SGFA-led annual art program called the PavilionNOW series.
The Shadow Garden Pavilion consists of a system of pressed galvanised steel shutters connected to planter boxes by a system of ropes and pulleys that are hung from a simple timber structure. The planter boxes are filled with aromatic and fragrant plants and herbs that are commonly used in local cooking. The act of opening and closing the shutters moves the plants up and down, transforming the space within and around it with ever changing shadow play. Moving the shutters and plants to different positions offer variable shading from direct sun – appropriate for the delicate herbal plants which often don’t need prolonged exposure to sunlight.
The installation also explores the use of local materials and traditional building methods. The main structure, for example, uses local hardwood – merbau and balau – in the form of rectangular timber sections. These are mainly joined together using an old woodworking method called tanggam, which essentially refers to a collection of traditional interlocking joints to connect pieces of timber without fasteners and screws. Tanggam can be found used in old vernacular timber structures in Malaysia.
Photographs by Pixelaw