One of my favourite places in Tokyo is 21_21 Design Sight, a museum created by the architect Tadao Ando and fashion designer Issey Miyake. It is not an ordinary museum, as each exhibition is temporary and features a unique theme, be it sound, athlete body, motion, colour, and so on, with equally unique ideas and exhibits. One of the recent ones was called “Untamed Mind” and tried to capture that wild and creative element of a human mind. While exhibition is limited to ideas and objects that can be fitted in two gallery rooms, if I had to pick one (best) example of untamed mind, my pick would be Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. From all the places I’ve seen, none was as fascinating in terms of where imagination may take you…
When I was going to Singapore for the first time, everyone was telling me that Singapore is too small and too boring. One colleague even recalled it was listed as one of the top tourist disappointments, together with the little mermaid in Copenhagen and some others that I do not remember anymore. While I could immediately related to the disappointment about the Little Mermaid (if anyone from Denmark is reading, please, no offense, I will just say it was mid-December and I got completely frozen while searching for that tiny little mermaid in a place that had virtually no public lights), I just could not believe it about Singapore and had a feeling that I am going to like it. I did, and it has never seemed boring even after four visits to date!
Singapore is a city-state and in my view is the closest country to Japan in terms of order, cleanliness and safety, with an added bonus of everyone speaking English.
While I do not recommend going for a chili crab while in your business outfit (based on personal experience, no photo evidence will be provided), I absolutely recommend to find a few hours and visit Gardens by the Bay.
Opened relatively recently in 2012, Gardens by the Bay is an amazing nature park covering over 100 hectares of reclaimed land. They say the concept was inspired by an orchid flower, where the roots (Conservatories), leaves and shoots (various paths, bridges and link ways), secondary roots (water, energy, communication lines), and blooms (Supertrees and theme gardens) form an interconnected network.
The Garden is very eco-friendly, with rain water collected from the surface and the reservoir and used for multiple purposes, including the cooling system that is connected to the Supertrees. Eighteen Supertrees of 25 to 50 meters high have solar batteries installed to help both vent hot air and cool circulated water, in addition to providing energy to lighting and fountain displays. In addition to garden “engine” function, they are vertical gardens in themselves, providing structure to plants, shade and a platform for the elevated skyway. To sum up the environmental circle, the lakes capture run-off water from within the Garden, which then gets cleansed by the aquatic plants and discharged back into Marina Reservoir.
There are two Conservatories: Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. While Flower Dome is a nice place to see for a flower lover, Cloud Forest is a real adventure with an indoor mountain, a 30-metre high waterfall and two unique walkways giving bird’s eye view on the tree canopy and vegetation at different levels of a cloud forest.
As you may guess by now, if not endless meetings in the office each time I happen to go to Singapore, you could find me somewhere there, most likely sipping coffee atop the tallest Supertree! 😉
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” (Albert Einstein)