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Exhibit Design & Museum-Related Projects: Huntington Library

Crafting a Garden

Oct. 22, 2022–May 29, 2023

Studio for Lodging the Mind


The Huntington’s Chinese Garden—known as Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance—is more than what it seems. With its tiled roofs, wooden columns, and inscribed placards, it appears to be a replica of the historical gardens in Suzhou, China, that inspired its design. But underneath those seemingly traditional elements are complex layers of materials and ideas unique to the garden’s setting in contemporary California.

On display are models, photographs, tools, and videos that tell the story of the design and construction of the garden. The exhibition is organized around five fundamental crafts involved in creating Liu Fang Yuan: Building, Paving, Mountain Making, Planting, and Writing.


All images are © Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens, 2022


The title wall was incorporated into a central structure that is designed using a motif from the garden itself


Two "rooms" created within the central structure highlighted Building and Flora


An introductory panel at left and text panels helped tell the story of the gardens' creation


Text panels were in English and Chinese and fit perfectly with the existing architecture


The Flora gallery included 40 high gloss images of flowers and trees from around the garden


The high gloss reproductions were displayed in luminous photo grids


Additional photo grids were sprinkled around the gallery, and reflected the focused theme


A mural with architectural terms in English and Chinese helps the visitor to identify various elements in buildings throughout the gardens


A scale model was constructed in China specifically for the exhibit

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