Plaza design for a health center in Japan with poetry, a fountain and other landscaping materials.

"Tale of Time"; Plaza Design for Kochi Health Science Center; Poetry with various landscaping materials; 90’ x 120’; Kochi City, Japan

"Tale of Time" is conceived as an aesthetic and interactive garden environment, designed to inspire a sense of wholeness and well being. Based primarily on the notion of time and taking the form of a walking labyrinth, this work seeks to engender a timeless/ holistic experience by removing the participant's perception of relativity and supporting a shift in their temporal orientation.

The overall composition of "Tale of Time " is on the one hand, inspired by the Western concept of a labyrinth, and on the other hand based on the pattern of an early Japanese incense clock. The Kanji characters of the following poem create the shape of a five petaled plum blossom, with the character for "my flower" being replaced by the blossom shaped fountain at the center of the plaza. This poem reinforces the notion of wholeness through its use of metaphor. The growth cycle of plants is likened to human stages of growth, with the flower representing the fullest, most refined state of one's being.

"how many lives before I obtain my flower"

The strokes of the characters are connected together to create a meandering pathway. Walking this winding route requires one's full attention, and in the process helps to shift one's temporal and spatial orientation. This focusing and shifting is both refreshing and healing.

Traditionally in Japan, a plum blossom is known as one of the "Three Friends of Winter", and it possesses a multitude of symbolic references: beauty, happiness, courage, rebirth, hope, patience, perseverance, fortitude and resilience. The plum tree has long been admired for its ability to rejuvenate itself and to withstand adverse conditions. Although the tree manifests an appearance of complete dormancy during winter, when the first inklings of spring arrive the tree nourishes itself and bursts into bloom; a potent symbol of hope and the continuity of life. This metaphor is particularly relevant in the context of a hospital, and is echoed by the water in the central fountain, the walking path and the poem; each element working together to provide a meaningful experience.

With special thanks to Mr. Inoue for his unique vision and consummate skill in fabricating the plum blossom fountain.