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Material Guys

Cao | Perrot Studio blends common and high-end objects to create arresting landscapes.

Architect, August 2013

For a recipient of both the prestigious Rome Prize and a Harvard Loeb Fellowship, landscape designer Andy Cao isn’t very academically minded. Cao (pronounced “Gow”) describes himself as a “bad student” at Cal Poly Pomona, where he got a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture in 1994. His creative coming-of-age happened after graduation, he says, when he was casting around for meaningful work and settled on the backyard of his own rental house in Los Angeles.

Two-and-a-half years and 45 tons of glass pebbles later, Cao had created the Glass Garden, an homage to the rice paddies and salt farms of Vietnam, where he was born.

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Photograph by Stephen Jerrom