Ornamenting the City

A publication branded by nature.

︎ Art Direction ︎ Editorial ︎ Print (Riso + Digital)

Commissions from Clarence Liu and Ng Jue Ying
Editorial shoot featuring Max Lily

Featured Text
Fashioning Value—Undressing Ornament. Part III.
By Femke de Vries, Published 2015.

Ornamenting the City is an ornate speciment of field notes exploring flora and fauna in the city, showcasing the nuances of being branded and ornamented by nature. This publication was built upon the reading of Fashioning Value—Undressing Ornament by Femke de Vries.

Nature has adopted an ornamental role in our increasingly built-up environment. Yet, it remains an authentic and original form of decoration. This book explores how nature has fashioned herself to adapt and be manicured into an environment where she was not made to thrive. Through improvised landscapes of our city, this story is one where the builder is a gardener, and the designer—a florist.

The featured text section of the book is divided by its horizontal middle, introducing a non-definitive exploration of the text by functioning as a flipbook. Its navigation relies on the use of spiral bind to view images independently from the text.

Growing from the text which looks at fashion and brand messaging from the degree of ornamentation, my focus applied the lens to view the quality of cityscapes indicated by the values nature shows us.

In the middle of winter where naturally-green spaces were sparce, I relied on photographing manicured garden spaces such as Kew Garden's greenhouses and the Barbican's common spaces. While initially a production limitation, this cemented the concept in the space of documenting the resilience of nature despite being forced and confined by a concrete jungle.

The contributed commission pieces materialised their creators' perspectives on the concept, situated in their homeland Singapore which is known to be a garden city. Inspired by the elemental beauty of nature, Jue Ying's Elements reminds the reader of humankind's impact on a city, reducing nature down to its manmade form in paper. Clarence's illustration is an ode to nature's complementation of the city, creating a decorated cityscape of landmarks fashioned with foliage.

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