As dusk fell, the towering trees lit up, tiny lights flickering like fireflies in between metal branches. Inspiring orchestra music started to play as the alien-like trees shifted colors. The blend of moving music and lights transformed the grove of metal trees into a magical rainforest. Everyone watched silently, their eyes transfixed at the spectacle above above. From below, I could see figures standing still along the curved skyway connecting the trees.
By day, the Grove of Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay, a garden park that is an architectural masterpiece in Singapore, looks impressive enough. The trees are just one of the many features of the horticultural park, which includes waterfront gardens, a children’s playground, and two cooled conservatories: a flower dome (closed when we visited) and a fascinating cloud forest dome that replicates the moist conditions typically found in tropical mountain regions. But it’s the strange tree-like structures that dominate the landscape, towering above from heights that range from 82 to 160 feet.
Interestingly, the 16-story-tall supertrees are not just decorative. They are actually vertical gardens, hosting unique and exotic ferns, vines and orchids and a host of other plants in their massive trunks. Harnessing environmental technologies that mimic the real ecological function of trees, they manage to collect rainwater, generate solar power and act as venting ducts for the park’s conservatories.
At night, during the free Garden Rhapsody light and sound show, these gigantic structures transform into something delightfully surreal and beautiful. The combination of orchestric music matched with light artistry is just moving. For fifteen minutes, I felt like I was soaring through the sentient trees in a futuristic alien universe. You know that first moment you set foot in a new world in a video game or when you pan out to a dramatic wide landscape in an advanced planet in a Science Fiction flick. Watching the show felt just just like that.
Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953. Access to the Outdoor Gardens in Bay South is free. The Garden Rhapsody Sound Light & Show is held daily at 7:45 and 8:45 pm. www.gardensbythebay.com.sg