Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tulip gazing, Singapore style

Maybe this post should start with a special warning about "eye-jarring color combinations, not suitable for sensitive viewers"?
This morning, we biked to the huge Flower Dome at the Gardens by the Bay by the Singapore River, to see their newest exhibition called "Tulipmania". And I guess anyone would agree about the suitability of the name, given that about 50 000 bulbs were flown all the way from the Netherlands for the displays. Sponsored by a well-known airline from the same country, the display is supposed to look like a cityscape from Holland  - luckily, the reality is usually much more charming.
Obviously, bulbs like these don't thrive in tropics like Singapore, so the display is really quite exotic for many Singaporeans. The dome was crowded directly after opening, people busying themselves photographing their loved ones in front of the gaudy bulbs and taking close-ups of the flowers - for some reason, the single, purple tulips seemed to attract most attention. The lines outside grew by the minute, so by the time we left the soothing coolness of the Flower Dome, tourists and local alike were sweating away in the sultry heat, waiting to get their tickets.
It was all a bit mad, really; a full on "Technicolor" version of spring in the Netherlands with crowds pressing around them - nothing to do with watching delicate bulbs stick up from the soil in early spring accompanied by birdsong and a gentle breeze, as one would expect to do  in the northern parts of the world... Of course, that is not possible here and this is an artificial exhibition, but I would have still loved a more sensitive approach; much softer tones and more gentle natural combinations, and less color-blocking and strong contrasts. But then, maybe the sponsors wouldn't have agreed on that, don't they say that strong colors sell best?
Imagine less color-blocking, mixing several color tones together and adding some feathery grasses...?
 The Dutch love orange...
 ...and despite all my cringing about the strong colors, I do too; especially those brush strokes in sunset tones.
 What do you call a color like this? "Washed-out"?
 I loved to see so many people taking close-ups of the bulbs; this uncle (in Singapore, everyone over 25 is called an "uncle" or an "auntie", which I find very sweet) spent minutes trying to get the perfect shot of a purple tulip. And I didn't even notice the huge lamp before seeing the picture on my screen...

 A fresh-looking, frilly tulip that I would like to see in my garden - not very original, of course, but these would have looked great with some black tulips (which of course really are deep purple).

 And the crowds were busy, immortalizing the bright and cheery display. Open until 4th of May 2014.