Lush Sod Blankets 16,000 Square Feet of a Historic Detroit Warehouse for Lisa Waud’s ‘Petrichor’

All photos by Mike Popso, courtesy of Lisa Waud, shared with permission

Petrichor describes the fresh, earthy scent that emanates from dry soil after rainfall. For three days in a historic Detroit warehouse, that sensory experience travels indoors, cloaking 16,000 square feet of an old factory floor in lush, green grass.

The latest pop-up project from artist Lisa Waud (previously), “petrichor” is a site-specific installation at the Boyer Campbell Building, where she’s in the middle of a six-month residency. The idea is to offer a dose of natural calm “as a pause button” amid a hectic, urban environment that allows visitors to “lose track of time and feel like they’ve had a reset.” Contrasting the industrial architecture with verdant rows of sod, the temporary work is an invitation for people to slow down and disconnect.

Waud began germinating the idea for “petrichor” about five years ago while running her flower shop in Detroit’s Fisher Building. “I kept imagining the visual juxtaposition of the ornate arcade and the literally earthy floor as well as the sensory flip of walking indoors and having it smell like outdoors. When I was given access to the Boyer Campbell factory building for six months just a few blocks from the Fisher Building, I fell in love with the vision of the idea in a whole new way, considering the green grass within the context of the expansive industrial setting,” she tells Colossal.

After teaming up with Mike Thompson from Hillcrest Sod Farms, the project became possible, and just this week, the pair and their team spent six hours installing about 20 pallets of sod across the building’s ground floor. “When visitors come to ‘petrichor,’ I am encouraging them to do what they would do in a public outdoor park, to feel the familiarity of relaxation and recreation,” she added. Whether they bring a picnic or a soccer ball, people can utilize the space as they’d like, positioning a commercial property as an open gathering spot.

As with many of Waud’s projects, the afterlife of “petrichor” is top of mind. She plans to donate the grass to parks, churches, and community organizations in Detroit, and the plastic that protects the building’s floor from the soggy soil will go to local farmers for use in their hoop houses and properties.

“petrichor” runs from May 31 to June 2, with yoga sessions and sound baths scheduled in the space. Find more information about tickets and visiting on Waud’s website and Instagram, and keep an eye out for the next project scheduled for the building, which opens in late June.

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!

Source: Art -


What’s a Banksy Museum Without Banksy?

Salvador Dalí’s Rarely Seen Floral Works Blossom in a New Show