The Wave | Shenzhen, China | Atelier Scale

The Wave is a low-budget and recyclable display garden at the 2020 Shenzhen Flower Show. In a context where mostly garden materials are disposed of in landfills after a flower show is completed, the landscape architects propose to reconsider the life cycle of a temporary garden. A prefabricated module system is devised, through which the garden can be restored with 90% of the item after the flower show is done. Through tilting and moving modules, a field of waves is created to simulate the ocean, which forms a backdrop to the city of Shenzhen.

Even though the design embraces a high efficient prefabrication system, aesthetics are not negotiated. The Wave is loved by the public and has been accepting over 5,000 visitors every day since its opening. The garden is voted to be rebuilt permanently in the park where the garden show is held after the flower show is over.

Within more than 20 display gardens at the 2020 Shenzhen Flower Show, the Wave is the only garden that can be used and reconstructed with the 90% of the items. In a visual-dominant flower show context, there is enormous waste where most of the garden materials are turned into the trash after the show is finished. Therefore, landscape architects think thoughtfully – reexamine the life cycle of a momentary garden and see it as an opportunity for art expression.

The landscape architects suggest a prefabricated module system, in which the module prototype is inspired by the texture of the ocean, which forms a backdrop to the city of Shenzhen. Through tilting and moving of modules, a field of “Wave” is created to simulate the ocean.

When people go into the garden, they sense like they are in the ocean of flowers. A gradient selection of flora from white, light blue to dark blue range with the modular planters, signifies the ocean wave. Colorful succulent plants with various shapes, together with colored herbs, represent the coral reef underneath the sea.

Bougainvillea and perennial flowers with different colors generate an atmosphere of tropical coast at the entryway of the garden. Bird of paradise (Strelizia reginae) is used as a buffer as if the “coconut trees” by the coast.

Besides the field of wave, two installations enrich visitors’ experience – the fishnet trellis and the wave pavilion. The fishnets dangled under the trellis are so soft that the light breeze effortlessly makes them swim like jellyfish. People could “kiss” the nets in certain elevations as they move with the landforms. The wave pavilion rolls up with the “wave”, with plants on the roof, and mirror-finish panels underneath the ceiling. The mirror mystically reflects different environments based on visitors’ locality and viewing angle.

The given construction period is extremely short (one month), with which the module system (composed of total of 335 aluminum planters) works perfectly. Landscape architects have optimized the construction details of the two installations, which are assembled without welding. With this assistance workers have been able to complete the construction/installation in advance when others are still working hard in finishing their gardens.

The Wave has been accepting over 5,000 visitors every day since its opening. It is loved by the publics for its lovely display, as well as its emphasis care on sustainability. With the highest award from the flow show committee, the Wave is voted to be rebuilt permanently as a mini garden in the park where the garden show is held, after the flower show is over.

The Wave

Project Location: The Greater Bay Area 2020 Shenzhen Flower Show Bao’an Garden – Shenzhen, China 

Landscape Design: Atelier Scale

Design Team: Huicheng Zhong, Yiliang Zhang, Qimei Ling, Juan Lin, Zhengzheng Xiong, Bingxing Lin

Awards: 2020 Shenzhen Flower Show Gold Award, Best Creative Award

Client: Urban Administration & Enforcement Bureau of Bao’an District

Landscape Construction Contractor: ShenZhen FangSen Gardening & Flowers Co.Ltd

Structure Consultant: iStructure Xiaotian Yang

Photo Credit: Nancy Studio

About Damian Holmes 3292 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at