This temporary installation is designed by Eleena Jamil Architect and sits in a small courtyard at the Shalini Ganendra Fine Art (SGFA) Gallery in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. It is built by students from the School of Architecture, Building & Design (SABD) Taylor’s University Malaysia and it forms part of SGFA-led annual art program called the PavilionNOW series, which is now in its second year.
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 use of local materials and traditional building methods. The main structure, for example, uses locally sourced 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. Traditionally, tanggam can be found used to build old vernacular timber structures in Malaysia.
The timber sections are cut and shaped by students in the timber workshop at the architecture department of Taylor’s University and then brought to the gallery site to be assembled. This is followed by installation of the pulley system, shutters and planter boxes. The pavilion is open to the public to experience at the gallery until February 2016 before it is moved to a more permanent location.