By Isamu Noguchi
1980-1982, Stone, water, metal, and plantings
Commissioned by Henry T. Segerstrom in 1979 and completed in 1982, California Scenario is recognized as one of the country’s preeminent sculpture gardens and the most important publicly accessible outdoor sculpture oasis in Southern California.
Situated on 1.6 acres, the garden in its design symbolizes various geographical characteristics in California, incorporating indigenous plants and materials. Six principal elements comprise California Scenario: “Forest Walk,” “Land Use,” “Desert Land,” “Water Source,” “Water Use,” and “Energy Fountain.” However, the centerpiece of the garden is  “The Spirit of the Lima Bean,”  a  sculpture of
dramatic portions, composed of 15 rust-colored granite rocks cut precisely to fit together. This sculpture was created in recognition of Henry T. Segerstrom’s friendship with the artist, Isamu Noguchi, and the Segerstrom family’s contribution to the agricultural heritage of Southern California.

Hidden behind tall glass office towers, California Scenario is a vision of California’s diverse geography as interpreted by the artist, Isamu Noguchi. Noguchi is known primarily as a sculptor. However, he has often been erroneously considered a landscape architect, a designation he dismissed. Noguchi’s creative practice and designs were not developed from a formal education or from conventions in the profession of landscape architecture. His approach was from that of a sculptor who understands the world through materials. His garden and landscape designs were, as he saw them, one of sculpting spaces, carving out areas where people could congregate. Noguchi would first consider what was fundamental to the specific site he was designing. This space could take the form of a piazza-like plaza or a child’s imaginary encounter with nature.

“The works of Isamu Noguchi are inspiring. CALIFORNIA SCENARIO will have a profound impact on the lives of all of us living within Orange County and throughout the state. It is a legacy from Isamu Noguchi to his birthplace.”
– Henry T. Segerstrom

California Scenario, a 1.6-acre public sculpture garden, was created as a series of landscapes within a landscape. “Water Source,” “Water Use,” “The Desert Land,” “The Forest Walk,” “Land Use,” and “Energy Fountain,” are distinct schemes that symbolize characteristics inherent in the California landscape. Completed in 1982, California Scenario is both a metaphorical garden and a minimalist theatrical installation.