Cloud Gardens: The Beauty of Decay in a Gardening-Sim Platformer #ArtTuesday
If it feels a bit like we’re in the middle of a slow motion apocalypse, you’re not alone. It can sometimes seem as if a lot of the required elements for a post-apocalyptic are in place, but we don’t have the aesthetic quite down yet. But along comes Cloud Gardens, a game that manages to be both a first-class gardening-sim platformer and a meditative visual exploration of natural plants taking over destroyed urban environments. Here’s more from Aaron Down:
So let’s talk about Cloud Gardens’s audiovisual construction. The game draws on Brutalist influences to inform elements of its design. The term ‘Brutalism’ itself stems from the French ‘béton brut’, meaning ‘raw concrete’. Hallmarked by its blocky appearance, this Post-Second World War architectural style is assimilated seamlessly into the isometric levels found within the game. The contrast between these oftentimes monolithic concrete obelisks and the free-flowing plants that grow to envelope them makes for a gorgeous juxtaposition.
On a more historical note, there is a deeper contrast to be made. Le Corbusier, the man who pioneered Brutalism during the early 20th Century, believed that a house was simply “a machine for living in”. Brutalist construction in Post-War Europe served to suture the deep wounds suffered by its landscape during the war through strictly pragmatic design. As such seeing these husks — the scars of war — in these post-apocalyptic landscapes so beautifully overgrown and full of life makes for a sort of temporally-cathartic experience. But there’s so much more variety to the game’s visual element than just concrete.
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