Folium is the insertion of a new spatial device within the grotto on the northern edge of the Evergreen Museum gardens. The installation transforms the experience of the grotto at a local level, acting as a translucent lightwell to draw sunlight down. The bench at the base of the form allows visitors to be engulfed in the light-filled space. On a hot summer day the stack effect of the chimney-like assembly cools the space.
The folium is at once object-like and spatial. The form is glimpsed from various points in the gardens and the house, partially obscured at all times from the exterior, but glowing because of its materiality and shape. Its marked difference from the classical grotto arch and denial of the traditional central axial view encourages viewers to approach the grotto to investigate.
It is evocative of forms found in the flora and fungi that once grew here, or geological forms that might be found elsewhere in natural grottoes, while clearly resisting simplistic mimicry of either. Though it may seem foreign upon first glance, the visitor will quickly discover upon entering it and gazing upwards that its form alludes to the classical archway found elsewhere at Evergreen, though distorted and transformed to frame the sky. The arch, with its strong connotations of threshold, implies a connectivity with a space through and beyond. The distorted archway visually connects the visitor to the sky above while conceptually connecting him or her back to the historic mansion itself. Thus the new space, despite its investment in contemporary form-making and fabrication, stakes itself firmly in a dialogue with the history of the Evergreen mansion.
Design team: Cynthia Gunadi, Joel Lamere, David Costanza, Alex Marshall