Bird baths and bee beaches invite nature to Marcel Breuer’s Marshouse

‘For the Birds & Bees’ (until 18 September 2021) by design gallery R & Company and landscape designer Edwina von Gal aims to bring back wildlife to Marcel Breuer’s Marshouse, and increase awareness on the importance of birds and pollinators

A pink and yellow fountain photographed in a garden
‘Tweery’ by Serban Ionescu, painted steel and glazed ceramic, part of the exhibition ‘For the Birds & Bees’ staged by R & Company and landscape designer Edwina von Gal at Marcel Breuer’s Marshouse
(Image credit: R & Company)

Landscape designer Edwina von Gal needs little introduction. Since setting up her eponymous landscape firm in 1984, the pioneering designer and environmentalist has worked with figures such as Frank Gehry, Maya Lin, Cindy Sherman and Calvin Klein to bring sustainable and nature-focused elements to their projects.

In 2013, von Gal established the Perfect Earth Project, a non-profit organisation dedicated to convincing homeowners and landscapers alike to stop using harsh chemicals on the land. Most of her experiments to achieve this were conducted at her own home – a 1974 house designed by Marcel Breuer and known as Marshouse, located in the Springs neighbourhood of East Hampton in New York. 

Bird baths and beaches for bees at Marcel Breuer’s Marshouse

A ceramic bird bath by Katie Stout photographed on the grass with trees in the background

Katie Stout's ceramic bird bath

(Image credit: Katie Stout)

Iconic and yet forward thinking, Marshouse is currently home to an exhibition of specially commissioned sculptures curated by von Gal and the design gallery R & Company. Entitled ‘For the Birds & Bees’ the landscape installation (until 18 September 2021) features bird baths and bee beaches designed by six artists (Serban Ionescu, Katie Stout (opens in new tab), Rogan Gregory (opens in new tab), Hung-Chung Lee, Nancy Lorenz and Jean-Paul Philippe), and has been created to attract wildlife to the verdant surroundings of Marshouse.

The exhibition at the property (already a showcase for landscape models that focus on native plants, toxic-free practices and biomass management) also supports an initiative launched by von Gal and Perfect Earth Project, dubbed ‘Two Thirds for the Birds’, which seeks to restore native bird populations across the United States by changing the way gardening and landscaping is done. It’s thought that to maintain healthy populations, birds need at least 70 per cent of plants in their habitat to be native. If homeowners planted more native plants (say 12 native varieties to every three non-native) and stopped using pesticides, the bird species in the USA could be rehabilitated and thrive once again.

A small cement and brass fountain by Nancy Lorenz, round shape, on the grass

Nancy Lorenz, ‘For the Bees’, cement and brass

(Image credit: Nancy Lorenz)

‘Bringing everyone together like this in the garden is such an ideal way to help us get our message out about the importance of habitat and toxic-free landscapes for saving our birds and pollinators,’ says von Gal, who selected each of the artists in the show. ‘It is a dream project working with R & Company’s great artists here in the Perfect Earth Garden. It's a natural fit.’

Evan Synderman, co-founder of R & Company, adds, ‘It has been my long-time goal to collaborate on a project with Edwina. When you visit her home, you are immediately transported to another place and time. You remember a more simple period when nature prevailed and humans trod lightly. While Edwina and I may have arrived at the project from different perspectives – hers centring around the birds, and mine focusing on the artists – by bringing together these two worlds, a completely unique programme emerged: an exhibition that combines art, sculpture, garden design (opens in new tab), ornithology, and conservation.’

A colourful, freestanding bird bath in blue ceramic with white and yellow polka dots and a blue bird on top. Designed by Hung-Chung Lee and photographed in a garden surrounded by greenery

‘Island’ by Hun-Chung Lee, glazed ceramic

(Image credit: Hun-Chung Lee)

A bee beach created by John Paul Philippe made of basalt with abstract motifs embedded on its surface

‘Bee Beach’ by John-Paul Philippe, made of cement, basalt, moss, earth pigments, hickory nuts, and wood

(Image credit: John-Paul Philippe)

A concrete freestanding fountain with organic shapes painted in red, created by Rogan Gregory and photographed among greenery in a garden in East Hampton

‘Bird Bath’ by Rogan Gregory, pigmented concrete and aggregate

(Image credit: Rogan Gregory)

INFORMATION

‘For the Birds & Bees’ is on view until 18 September 2021
Reservation required through r-and-company.com (opens in new tab)

perfectearthproject.org (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Marsh House
962 Springs Fireplace Road
East Hampton, NY, 11937

VIEW GOOGLE MAPS (opens in new tab)

Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.

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