Thursday, 8 May 2014

Utopia: Closed for Renovation

Closed for Renovation

Utopia, or Eutopia, according to the Google Dictionary:
noun: utopia; plural noun: utopias or eutopia
  1. an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.
    synonyms:ideal place, paradiseheaven, heaven on earth, Eden, Garden of Eden, Shangri-La, Elysium, the Elysian Fields, Happy Valley, seventh heaven, idyllnirvanabliss

On our sojourn North, we took time to stop off and see some magnificent sights along the way.  Eutopia is a roadside attraction befitting a Peter Jackson's Hobbit film set.  It is a restaurant in a place I quickly forgot the name of.  Trust Google to remember for me: Kaiwaka.  Literally, it means the canoe of food in Maori.  The restaurant has this organic shape, half boat/canoe, half village.  I begged my driver to stop for a photo opp.  He reluctantly agreed, as he needed a toilet stop, so while he wondered off in search of an ablution facility, I nosed my way around this fascinating little structure.  Marvelling at the creativity and hours of time spent making a vision, a reality.  The stuff dreams are made of.  But for real.

Detail on the side of the structure

Phallic church-spire mushrooms growing out of the roof
The extent of this dream-like sculptural dwelling is so out-there, that one wonders how the creator got legal planning consent to build it, given all the red tape that usually accompanies building permits.  I had the distinct sense I was a peeping Tom, walking around the peripheries, snapping shots over and through barriers and windows and openings.  Wish I knew more about the buildings history.  I found out on the World Wide Web that the designer and creator is Peter Harris, who has just on-sold the business.  I felt it would have been sad to give up something that must have consumed so much time and energy to create.

Inside the restaurant

Elves and mystical trees hugging cylindrical towers

An elf forms part of a pillar

The elf girl-child pillar
Time seemed to stand still, while I wandered around in a reverie of bliss, snapping bits of magic that appealed to me.  I felt drawn in to the creator's vision, of what he was trying to convey.  Wonderland.  A place where no screens dominate, just imagination.
Mystical, magical spaces

Stained glass window formed with glass half-marbles
Church-like, sacred and precious.  These were some of the emotive thoughts I had.  I dared not touch.  Like a kid in a glass warehouse.  "Look, but don't touch!".  An object of great beauty.  I may have missed that feeling of awe if I had had a companion - "Look here.  Look there!"  
And I could have easily missed out on that special feeling.  Reminds me of a fragment of memory as a child, no more than 3 or 4, lying prone on a church pew with my head on my mother's lap and gazing up at the magnificence of the stained glass windows.  The light coming through seemed to come in shards of colours where dust motes danced.  
I am sure too, that I would have missed entirely, that sense of slendour, had the restaurant been filled with patrons.  I am thankful I could explore unhindered.  In my own time and space.
Lock and chain.  Doors leading to the dungeon?  Dragon's lair?  Rapunzel's tower?

The imaginative entrance
I guess another reason that this functional sculpture appealed so much to me, is that I live in a make-believe world of kindergarten children.  Daily, I share in their fantasies, their hopes, dreams, thoughts, fears, visions and imaginations.  My little friends would have shared my sense of awe and wonderment.  They too, would have been inspired by the creative touches, to dare to dream or imagine who or what would live here.  Layers and layers of discovery.

Beaded windows and daubed walls remind me of Africa

Reflecting on reflections.  Church-like.
I vaguely at some point, heard my name being called.  I was so reluctant to be called out of my reverie of amazement that I shamefully kept quiet.  I did not want to be found.  I did not want to be drawn back into a world of reality.  Cars.  Time keepers.  Deadlines and destinations.  I waited for a second call.  Guiltily, I answered back with a faint little  "Here I am..."  but I knew that my voice would not carry wide and long.  It was coming from a place far, far away.  A place of inspired imaginings.  
Toilet block out back

Even the wooden door invites the senses

Shuttered windows your own risk!
Eventually, I realised that my dearly beloved may raise the alarm and send for a rescue squad if I remained in my little reverie on my own, so I reluctantly emerged.  "What?  You called?  Yes, I heard you.  Didn't you hear me answer?  I did....."

So, I really did find Eutopia.  But it was closed for renovation.  Lucky, for me!

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