SOUTH X SOUTHEAST

SOUTH X SOUTHEAST
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A view of the iconic Marina Bay Sands from within the Cloud Forest in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.
Futuristic thinking meets human 
sustainability in the South China Sea.
inspire
The ability to travel halfway around the world is more accessible than ever, but no matter how you get there, there is an inclination, after being in transit for almost 20 hours, to start to feel like a piece of carry-on luggage. That’s why places like Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, that “little red dot” on the map in the South Pacific and the first stop on our photo essay, are so important. When visiting Gardens by the Bay, the 18 so-called “Supertrees” are inescapable and immediate. Towering up to 160 feet above the park, the “trees” are concrete and steel structures planted with over 700 species of plants from around the world. All manner of plants suited to the equatorial climate, from bromeliads to orchids, oversaturate the senses during the day, and at night, the trees come alive with light and sounds. It is a surreal experience. The cloud forest dome feels like a real cloud forest, because it is. The unique design of the bridges you cross within the massive 86,000-square-feet dome are designed to make you feel like you’re physically floating, while the smells and sights of the stunning plant diversity inside the dome and biodiversity around the park elevate your spirit.
Here in Singapore, nature is expressed within the frontier of architecture, which seems to defy traditional logic. The adjacent Marina Bay Sands rises 57 stories above the gardens as a shining juxtaposition of three aluminum, steel and glass towers and a lush rooftop dotted with palm trees with an impossible-looking infinity pool flowing over the entire width of the structure.
As Singapore’s most popular tourist site and the only botanic garden with UNESCO World Heritage site designation, the gardens serve as the ultimate expression of the interconnectedness of humans and nature—and a vision of a hopeful future.
Right: A local cat and an Audi A3 show off their curves in a Singaporean night market. 
Left: Built in 1980, Peninsula Plaza has some curves of its own on display just around the corner from the National Gallery of Singapore.
A view of the lush and diverse Gardens by the Bay from Sands SkyPark.
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The world’s largest glass greenhouse, the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay is home to a constantly changing series of flower displays, with plants from the Mediterranean and other semi-arid regions of the world.
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The Cloud Forest is built from over 2,500 glass panels with 690 different shapes fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle.
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Marina Bay feeds into the Strait of Singapore and out to the Pacific Ocean.
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Free to the public, the Sun Pavilion keeps over 1,000 desert plants from the Americas and Africa warm and dry.
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The Supertree Grove is an assembly of 12 massive bio-sculptures encircled by the OCBC Skyway, a seven-story walkway with incredible views of the “trees,” the park and the bay.
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Dragonfly Lake offers visitors fauna to go along with all that flora, and it demonstrates the fragile beauty of wetlands and other small aquatic ecosystems.
Three unique orchids from the National Orchid Garden thrive within the Singapore Botanic Garden, a little less than five miles from the Supertrees. The orchid on the left was named after His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, the former head of the United Nations, after a visit in 2012.
Left: Taking in a rooftop sunset over Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Top right: A 360-degree view atop the Tree Top Walk at The Habitat gives access to a 130-million-year-old jungle canopy in Penang. Bottom right: A lookout from Penang Hill over George Town.
Across the Johor Strait from Singapore, Malaysia sprawls north toward Indochina. While it is similar to Singapore demographically, there is a very different approach to design, architecture and mobility in the country, which achieved independence in 1957, eight years before Singapore became a sovereign state. The essence of Malaysian culture can be tasted in the national dish nasi lemak and its Indo-Islamic sister dish nasi kandar, which originated in Penang. Surrounded by mountains and lush highlands, Malaysia is very green.
The urban area of Kuala Lumpur demonstrates a stark combination of nature in the distance and the immediacy of the dense urban architecture of monorails, motorcycles, bikes, subway, trains and buses, not to mention the ever-more-popular app-based rideshare.
Both countries are multi-religious and multi-ethnic with people and nature living harmoniously. And from these photos, obviously there is a desire for the progressive mobility of Audi vehicles in both countries.
An Audi A4 spotted in the Little India district on the island of Penang in the UNESCO World Heritage city of George Town. Food stalls and restaurants here serve the multi-dish delicacy Nasi Kandar.