An airport with a garden or a garden with an airport — some might say it’s the latter. There’s something about nature that soothes our souls and Changi Airport knows that. You may have visited some of the attractions and gardens at the airport, but did you know that flora and fauna are dotted around all the terminals in the form of architecture, sculptures and gardens? Check out how Changi has incorporated nature across its total land area of 1,300 hectares — little wonder why it has been ranked the best airport in the world six years in a row.
Fun fact: Changi Airport grows 3,000 plants per month in its own nursery and Terminal 4 alone has 500,000 plants in total!
Immerse yourself in design that blurs the line between nature and man-made
The airport architecture has been carefully designed to create a naturally-calming environment for its travellers before and after flights.
Rain Tree Mirror Silhouette at Terminal 1
A large rain tree made of stainless steel sends travellers off at the T1 departure gate. If you've travelled to Changi Airport by car, you'll see these iconic rain trees line up the roads along East Coast Park Way. The idea to use rain trees as a decorative feature for T1 came about when the project architect then was struck by a flash of inspiration while driving back to his office from Changi.
Banana leaf-shaped lighting at Terminal 2
Shaped like banana leaves, the often overlooked lights at T2 pay homage to an important part of Singapore’s food heritage. Commonly used to wrap food like Nasi Lemak (coconut-infused rice), Kueh (glutinous rice cake) and Otah (grilled fish cake), banana leaves act like natural food storage containers. During the early days of the terminal, they were chosen to act as an extension to the ‘green tunnel’ landscape elements from East Coast Park, as part of the architectural design.
Appreciate installations that emulate the beauty of the natural environment
While the picturesque attractiveness of nature is pleasing to the mind and body, it gives more than a sense of serenity. From bird sculptures to daisy installations, Changi uses nature to welcome travellers, or bid them farewell, in the most splendid ways.
Les Oiseaux (The Birds) at Terminal 4
Three wire frame bird sculptures greet travellers at T4 — one of them perched on ground level, welcoming those who have just touched down, and the other two suspended mid-air, soaring high and free as they send off those about to take flight at the Departure Hall. Cedric Le Borgne, the artist behind the sculpture, invites contemplation and meditation, using mise en scène (surroundings of events) and lighting techniques to bring the birds to life. Their presence reflects the soft elegance and harmony of the terminal’s design and architecture, making the landscape welcoming, warm and zen.
Fun Fact: The best time to view this sculpture is from 6pm to 7pm, where the contrast between the sunset and silhouette of the birds will leave you spellbound.
Daisy at Terminal 3
Donning the symbolic red and white of the national flag, the Daisy Sculpture at T3 was inspired by Singapore’s status as a seaport — the shape reminiscent of a cargo ship propeller, and the country’s wide variety of flora. Using in-built cameras to detect passers-by, the sculpture moves to face its viewers, providing interactive fun for the young and old alike!
Take in the serenity of greenery in our gardens
With a selection of nine themed gardens, the airport provides visitors and travellers a sanctuary to take a breather and enjoy nature. With each garden offering a distinctive concept, there’s bound to be one that will lift your spirits in an instant. Here are two unique gardens for a start.
Orchid Garden at Terminal 2
Get this – Changi houses over 700 orchids from 30 different species, each with their own watering requirements and growing habits. For example, some orchids cannot be planted in soil, while others cannot grow on rocks or be tied to trees. Special care is taken to ensure the orchids are planted and maintained optimally. So the next time you’re in T2, take a closer look at the colourful array of orchids!
Fun Fact: The Vanda Miss Joaquim was selected to be Singapore’s national flower among 40 others, of which 30 were orchids.
The garden at Terminal 1
Located in the public area of the Arrival Hall, the garden welcomes visitors to T1 with a myriad of dragonfly-themed flora. Look out for the tall Washingtonia robusta, a Mexican Fan palm that was specially grown and imported from Spain. Apart from flora, the garden also contains specially curated topiaries and sculptures, bringing an outdoor experience indoors! The highlight of the garden is a feature pool which generates mesmerising ripple effects, simulating dancing dragonflies — something about the rhythmic movements that instil a sense of peace.
Fun Fact: In the evening, rings of coloured lights start to glow under the water surface. The lights synchronise with the movement of the ripples, creating a dazzling light show!
Changi Airport manages more than a million trees and plants and even has an in-house nursery, consisting of more than 100,000 plants from around 300 species. Managed by a team of 17, a whopping 300 – 500 plants are transported between the nursery and the airport every day!
Filled to the brim with nature and nature-inspired elements, every visit to Changi is bound to be stress-free. So the next time you’re in the airport, you know where to go for an instant mood lift, especially if you’re one to have pre-flight jitters.
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