The Tree
"And as Paul Simon wistfully reminds us in his 1990 song Spirit Voices,
And slept on the banks on the leaves o a banyan tree...
Some stories are magical, meant to be sung."
Size: 100 square metres  /   Year: Completion 2009
Type: Sculpture   /  Award: President Design Award 2010 for Design of the Year.
Team: Torrance Goh, Peter Sim, Dr Lilian Chee, Willie Koh, Dylan Quek   /  Photographer: Jeremy San Tzer Ning
 
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When we think about the National Museum of Singapore, association with another grand old dame comes to mind. It is the huge old banyan tree that sits majestically on the museum’s front lawn, seemingly holding fort to a place full of histories, stories and magic.

We wanted to allude to all these richness and symbolism through a contemporary reading of the banyan tree. The Tree is a reconstruction from a series of interlocking frames with lights that pulsates gently in the night. Hanging microphones simulating that of aerial roots will also detect environment sounds and alter the lighting nature of the Tree – glowing intensely and dimming down with the rising and falling sound levels.
Just like in the past, as it is now, we hope this Tree will inspire people to slow down, take a breather and simply bask and partake in this recreation of nature’s wonder.

And as Paul Simon wistfully reminds us in his 1990 song Spirit Voices, “And slept on the banks on the leaves of a banyan tree… Some stories are magical, meant to be sung.”

The Tree was awarded President Design Award 2010 for Design of the Year.