Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Trees of Ta Prohm, Siem Riep, Cambodia.‎

Enormous pale trunks of silk cotton trees soar skywards under a shadowy green canopy, their long ‎spreading skirts trailing the ground and their endless roots coiling more like reptiles than plants... ‎one is plunged into a surreal world in Ta Prohm... a place perfect for a travelling quilt of dreams...‎

‎‘The Crazy House’ Dalat, Vietnam.‎

Next stop... ‘The Crazy (tree) House’ Dalat, Vietnam! ‎

A monument to Hang Viet Nga’s architectural philosophy of dreams, fantasy, folklore and free-‎form. Crazy House is also her home, still under construction and due to be finished in seven years.‎

The building is a swirl of ferro concrete shaped like a huge tree with tunnels travelling through the ‎trunks. Inside those trunks are small suites each one designed with a different theme for an ‎animal, plant or insect. ‎

Great sweeps of black and yellow concrete, bizarrely shaped glass openings, beautifully peach-‎coloured walkways, spider webbed sculptured rooftops... Between this cacophony of free form is ‎a noisy collection of animals - doves, hens, guinea fowl and colourful singing birds - The piece de ‎resistance is a centrally carved animal statue, denoting that room's theme. So you can choose to ‎sleep with an ant or a kangaroo!‎

The doors are shaped to suit the wall openings, with the weight of the panel synchronised with the ‎shape of a body, just as light fittings and curtain tracks take their position in the twisting spaces as if ‎they grew there. Hang Nga’s intention of eccentrically paralleling nature is abundantly mythical and ‎mesmerising! ‎

‎“We must connect with nature... the trees, animals, and our innermost dreams” said Hang Nga. ‎Hang Nga is the one with deep mascara, she lives in the ‘memory’ room. She loved the concept of ‎‎‘The Traveling Quilt of Dreams’ and so it hung in the main foyer to be shared with the hundreds of ‎people that pass through the Crazy House everyday. The last thing Hang Nga said to me was... ‎

‎“If we don’t dream... we are dead... so keep dreaming...”‎

The Tree of Life Mosaic, Luang Prabang, Laos.‎

The Traveling Quilt of Dreams began is adventure at Wat Xieng Thong, one of the most important ‎temples in the country of Laos. The ‘tree of life’ mosaic of coloured glass on dark red clay, crafted ‎in 1960, at the back of the Wat Xieng Thong is one of the best known images in modern Laos art. ‎The quilt was blessed by a monk in saffron coloured robes with incense, lotus buds and candles ‎that where then set adrift down the Mekong River...‎