Art of Mondrian grows on student

Last updated 11:33 26/02/2013
Kris Dando

GARDEN CANVAS: Tawa’s Bayley LuuTomes with the scale mock-up of his Ellerslie exhibit, based on a well-known piece by the painter Mondrian.

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Bayley LuuTomes says he is feeling the pressure as the Ellerslie International Flower Show draws nearer.

The Tawa resident is in Christchurch, setting up his exhibit for the show, which runs from March 6 to 10. He is one of nine entrants in the student designer category and hopes the exposure and any success will kickstart his plans for a landscape design business.

Being the only student entrant from this region, he is flying the flag against mostly Auckland and Christchurch designers.

"It's really exciting, I'm learning so much and it's a chance for me to showcase what I'm capable of."

Mr LuuTomes' rooftop garden display is called "Living Art", taking inspiration from Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. It is a multifunctional outdoor space, he says, built with a young, single, professional male in mind.

He even went to the length of giving his "client" a name and backstory, with likes and dislikes.

The garden, measuring 4.8m by 4.8m, has a glass bridge, coloured glass pergola, LED lighting, outdoor TV and fireplace and 1200 plants.

It is bold and colourful, with plenty of "outdoor flow", he says.

Mr LuuTomes worked in advertising before returning to study. He says he has always had an interest in gardening and landscaping. He has worked on his Ellerslie exhibit for 10 months.

"I love creating and seeing things that you've done grow, it's very satisfying. So I've attended dozens of home shows and garden shows, putting a lot of my own spare time and effort into learning about what it takes to be a designer.

"Ellerslie is about bringing it all together and jumping in the deep end."

He says the design has been the easy part and is both anxious and animated about having a limited amount of time to erect the real thing in Christchurch.

"I'm just praying the weather doesn't go bad and we don't have any issues when setting it up. At the end of the day we're going to be judged on a criteria and we [the student entrants] could all get gold medals, or none of us might. I know it will be an amazing experience."

Mr LuuTomes received $9000 in grants for the project and 11 businesses provided him with material at cost prices, but he estimates the exhibit will cost $40,000. His only local sponsor is Guthrie Bowron/Dulux Porirua. Follow Mr LuuTomes' progress in Christchurch at

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