A Secret Noguchi Garden in Costa Mesa



Hidden behind a Jerry’s famous Deli in the heart of downtown Costa Mesa, thrives a stunning 1.6-acre public sculpture garden by internationally acclaimed designer Isamu Noguchi.  Here in Costa Mesa, surrounded by mirrored high rises, Noguchi’s secret garden boasts a series of dramatic landscapes that represent our Golden State. Built in 1982,  the space is both symbolic landscape and minimalist theatrical piece.  A series of seemingly disjointed but somehow harmonious elements create a unique visitor experience.  

At one end is a hilly meadow surrounded by soaring redwoods. 

Straight across is a cactus garden with brilliant yellow flowering Palo Verde.

Underfoot, several canals and streams demarcate the space, reminding us of the key role water plays in our state of affairs.  All these elements are made more dramatic by the white backdrop, which in truth is the backside of a parking garage. I imagine the office workers above get the whole idea in one view: sun reflecting on the water, space divided geometrically by streams, stone, sculpture, hill, grass and trees.

Not to be missed, is the Lima Bean sculpture is made up of 15 granite rocks and signed (with the initials IN) by the artist himself.  

Here Noguchi nods to the Segerstroms (the family behind the garden, South Coast Plaza, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center)  who started their family fortunes with a large lima bean farm on this very land.  


John Ellis creates images of the design world- showcasing products, interiors, architecture, people and the lifestyle they purport.  More of his work can be seen at johnellisphoto.com.


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