When he began initially thinking about ways to approach the “green” spaces at Rodeo Drive, Robert Ng’s mind instinctively wandered to the great resort communities in Bali, Indonesia, South China and, of course, southern California. And one image persisted: A magical cliffside space overlooking the ocean. It turned out to be a vision perfectly in sync with the outdoor landscaping opportunities available at Rodeo Drive. “Because the building is in close proximity to the street, there isn’t a lot of landscaping opportunity at grade,” notes Ng, a principal at NAK Design Solutions, a firm that has been a force in Canadian public and private landscape design for over thirty years. “An exciting landscape opportunity is the terrace on the 8th floor amenity level. It’s enormous and really does mimic a cliff overlooking an ocean, but in this instance it’s a ‘green ocean’ in the guise of the vast parklands that surround the project. It really is quite breathtaking and remarkably similar to the oceanic vistas you get in those beach communities south of LA.” The indoor amenity activities overlook the terrace, so Ng was keen it lead it to a focal point, and that “Wow Factor” is created by an elevated negative-edge pool that from a distance gives the illusion of water merging with the sky. The terrace design’s water feature reflects and mirrors the changing elements of the sky. Next to the pool are an alley of cabanas for relaxation and the lush planting which mimic the “look” of southern spas, whether in Bali or Beverly Hills. “Evergreen boxwoods in a linear fashion define the space,” notes Ng, “and colour will be provided by flowering annuals like red and white impatiens. Pampas grasses in planters along the space’s perimeter move beautifully in the wind creating a ‘living’ landscape.” “Our ambition for the 8th floor terrace is a space that is pure, minimal, linear and quite simply an inspiring place to spend time.” Presently Rodeo Drive provides limited landscaping opportunity at grade, but when the project is fully built-out, a plaza will connect the buildings giving T.O.’s Rodeo Drive something akin to an LA landscaping vibe. “The signature element in the Southern California landscape are the palm trees because of their magnificent verticality,” says Ng. Along with street furniture, he envisions giving the Rodeo Drive site a similar verticality, but instead of palms he sees columnar trees. “They really do brilliantly mimic that iconic central element of LA’s Rodeo Drive, but that’s down the road.”
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