A quiet ephemerality characterizes the work of Cao | Perrot Studio. Creating work that lies between installation and landscape architecture, the duo of Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot uses natural and artificial materials to design environments that transport us beyond the everyday.
For Cocoons, a temporary art installation commissioned by the City of Emeryville in Northern California and sited on a rocky point opposite the Golden Gate Bridge, Cao | Perrot designed three spinning cocoons that resemble a cross between gigantic tops and moored air balloons. Five miles of colored monofilament were wrapped around laser-cut stainless-steel armatures fabricated by architect William Massie.
Lullaby Garden, an installation commissioned for the Cornerstone Festival of Gardens in Sonoma, California, in 2003, perhaps best captures the essence of the studio’s work. Tranquil and delicate, the garden must be experienced, ideally while barefoot, in order to appreciate the subtleties of its design. Inspired by the unique reflective quality of the monofilament they had used for Cocoons, Cao and Perrot commissioned sixty Vietnamese artisans to hand-knit carpets of colored nylon line in shades of faded gold and orange. Two hundred carpets were sewn together on-site at Cornerstone and draped over a sculpted landform foundation. The entire garden area was wrapped with strands of clear monofilament that formed a translucent wall, concealing or revealing the garden depending on the time of day. Visitors were invited to take off their shoes and walk the stylized, curvaceous landscape inspired by the nineteenth-century woodblock prints of the Japanese artist Hokusai Katsushika. Strains of a Vietnamese lullaby completed the otherworldly experience.
In 2005, Cao and Perrot were invited to design an installation at the Medici Fountain in Paris’s Luxembourg Gardens for the Fête du Mimosa. Cao likened the path of brilliant yellow winter-blooming mimosa floating on the water to a dreamy and metaphorical lover’s lane.