Julia Simon

Concrete Garden

Class of: 2025

Major: Integrated Design BFA

Medium: Mixed media sculpture

Faculty: Alison McNulty

Prompt: To make and alter a plaster cast of one of the five regular polyhedrons and then, using linear and/or planar materials and mechanical connections, create another regular polyhedron specifically for that plaster mass to inhabit. Concepts for the project, including polyhedron choices, size, texture, material choices, and other formal choices, are driven by a contemporary ecological issue or concern related to the elements the two polyhedrons classically represent.

I have always been drawn to the beauty of live plants and flowers. When moving to New York City, I noticed the change in ecosystem, and questioned the ability for life to survive in such polluted and unnatural environments. This sculpture depicts the unsustainable relationship between how industrialization, and layers of pollution within New York City interact and impact biodiversity within our community. The plaster cube is a hexahedron, representing earth, and the inhabitable space is a dodecahedron, representing life. The dodecahedron serves as the inhabitable space to show how life grows and exceeds earth’s boundaries, yet still needs the earth at its core to sustain it. The plaster cast is covered in animal based fabrics such as leather and fur to represent the fashion industry, and plastic materials and wires to resemble infrastructure, two prominent and dangerous industries that are an integral part of New York City’s culture. The dodecahedron, made of fresh flowers, and supported by thin gold metal tubing and wire, shows not only how the flowers are unable to access and penetrate the earth’s surface because of this layer, but how we have also started to use unnatural materials to help sustain life in these unhealthy conditions. The use of live flowers makes this an ephemeral sculpture. It only lasts for about 12 hours before the inhabitable space and the inner cube starts to deteriorate at various speeds and degrees. After a few days, the inhabitable space resembles nothing of its original appearance or function.