California Scenario

March 5th, 2015

I pulled into a parking lot in a generic part of  Costa Mesa, California. I was directed to walk between a corporate high-rise and a TGIFriday’s, and then right into Isamu Noguchi’s California Scenario. It’s a 1.6 acre public garden in between a couple of office towers and a parking garage on what used to be a lima bean farm. From the brochure:

The California Scenario is an abstract metaphor of California’s diverse natural environment and is considered to be one of Noguchi’s significant contributions to Landscape Architecture. The garden begins at the thirty-foot-high sandstone triangle named “Water Source”, travels through a stream filled with water and stones, and ends at “Water Use”, a granite wedge. “Forest Walk” takes visitors past a patch of California redwoods while “Land Use” is an eight-foot-high knoll, topped with a simple form of Sierra white granite. “Desert Land” features a symmetric mound with desert plants. The sculpture “Spirit of the Lima Bean”, is composed of twelve-foot-high carved granite boulders, educating visitors about the earlier use of the site. The “Energy Fountain”, is twenty five-feet in diameter and made from granite bricks and stainless steel.

I walked all around and it really is built to be beautiful and interesting from every angle. It even works with the shiny mirrored buildings and not against them. But my favorite spot was a bench on top of a small grassy hill surrounded by redwood trees. The trees effectively block out the buildings so that you’re left with a view of only the sculpture garden’s contents and sky.

There’s not a ton of info on the Noguchi website, but there is a really cool process mock-up here.

Photo Feb 28, 12 24 47 PM

I also discovered the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana which had a great exhibit of traditional thangka painting. The above is a small detail of a larger work. I was originally sad that all the big museums were out of my reach in and around Los Angeles, but I discovered that Southern California has some hidden gems. More on the food later.










Nicole Stowe
I've been in the advertising industry for over fourteen years in Jackson, MS, specializing in Design, Color and Branding. To keep myself sane, I make food-themed block prints. Just for fun, I collect vintage cameras and photography. To satisfy my curiosity, I read a lot about science. And for who knows what reason, sometimes I create conceptual Jell-O.

3 thoughts on “California Scenario

  • Om Ingram March 5, 2015 at 11:44 am

    When I come out there I’m staying in Orange County just to make you drive there. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Because I’m evil.

  • Nicole Stowe March 5, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I kept debating calling you, then the one free afternoon I was going to have got booked up. And I had client dinners almost every evening. Then I felt bad calling last minute and making you drive down. Next time I’m out that way, we will get together!

  • cbuck March 5, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Nice. I wish I’d had the chance to meet up with you when you were here. Even if I would have had to go to the OC.

  • Comments are closed.

    © Big Ball of Wax