Outdoor design on a larger scale

Set on the shore of picturesque Kaipara harbour just north of Auckland New Zealand is a 1000 acre site of rolling green pastures that spill dramatically into shallow waters known as the Gibbs Farm. In contrast to the surrounding dairy farms Mr Gibbs has commissioned artists to create and install some quite extraordinary abstract installations. His brief to perspective artists, build what you want, where you want and from what you want. Just make it your best work! Gibbs now in his 70’s and a prolific collector of art admits that his last 20 years with the Gibbs farm indulges his fairly developed taste for abstract and minimalist art.


The installations are collaboration between artist and land, Gibbs himself and his team of engineers who work closely with the artists to bring these creations to life. The farm challenges artists with scale, topographical features and the harsh elements. While each piece of art is unique in its own right there is a shared reference to the land. While this collection of abstract installations contrast the landforms with striking colours and shapes each sit harmoniously within the landscape working with the surrounding natural features and elements. It is interesting to see how each artist has interpreted these challenges and responded with artworks fitting such a site. The ability to work with the topography and surrounding features in itself is great design.


The farm consists of twenty plus pieces and range from the prominent and wildly abstract installations from artists such as Anish Kapoors and his PVC membrane sculpture that is stretched out into a trumpet like horn sitting prominently on both sides of a crest in the hillside almost waiting to sound off. Neil Dawson has also produces a stunning installation sitting prominently at the highest point of the property which represents a sheet of corrugated iron blown in by the savage winds and rests somewhat temporarily awaiting the next gust.

Other pieces are more subtle gradually revealing themselves as the tide recedes into the depths of the harbour such as the Maori waka, by Russell Moses which is installed just above the high tide mark. Or the Daniel Buren fence stretching out along the ridge line.

For Gibbs it’s a chance to challenge artists to go beyond their comfort levels. For us, it is to enjoy! This farm is defiantly on our to do list at Think Outside gardens and is one of many things that inspire our design team to challenge the way we develop our concepts for the gardens we love to create.

The Gibbs farm is open to the public in limited numbers but is always available to review online. gibbsfarm.org.nz we hope you enjoy.

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