Landscape Students Design A Floral Impression Of The Polka


By Zac Schultz | October 7, 2015

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Landscape architecture students spend a lot of time designing planters that will never be planted, gardens that will never be grown.

So when Robert Holicek and Arianna Netzsky learned the state was holding a competition to design a planter around the Capitol, they started brainstorming.

“There weren’t a lot of restrictions to it. It was sort of here’s your space. This is where it is,” says Holicek.

They drew inspiration from the various state symbols. “Instead of it just being like here’s a pretty design we actually really wanted to get involved with the design, and have it actually represent something of Wisconsin,” says Netzsky.

“Once we caught on polka, and just dance is so universal, and there dresses are just so kind of ornate and unique,” says Holicek.

Netzsky says you should imagine looking from above at a dancing girl.  “If you imagine a girl, you know, twirling and spinning, her dress will fly up–will floop out and make a nice little circle. And that’s what also was kind of the inspiration.”

Holicek grew up in Mequon, quite familiar with the music.  “My mom has literally hundreds of polka records. And there was an accordion in my house growing up.”

Netzsky grew up in Las Vegas and came to Wisconsin for college- in part because everything was green.  “Growing up in Las Vegas, it’s a desert and it’s also suburbia.”

She says her dad brought her to national parks and the natural world became a part of her, literally in the case of a tattoo of a bristlecone pine tree.  “I felt that it really synthesized my love for design and art.”

As the dirt flies and the planter fills up, their design takes shape.  “The edge of our planter is a really dark color, and that’s sort of what you see peeking out of the white hem–which is abstracted by the white flowers. And it builds from there I guess,” says Holicek.

“It kind of makes it the middle part that everyone looks at with the ribbon kind of ties it together,” says Netzsky.  “And then, then you have the crown at necklace, the red necklace that contrasts with the crown–the flower crown–at the top.”

Zac Schultz

Zac Schultz is a reporter for the “Wisconsin Life” project who thinks three-minute stories and one-line bio descriptions are woefully brief.
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