Analysis of Our Preciousss

Art PennomAquascapes Deconstructed, Blog2 Comments

The next aquascape that I’ve chosen to give my humble thoughts on is “Our Preciousss” by Akvaryum Dizayn Istanbul. I think it will make a good contrast to my previous post analyzing the 2010 Iron Aquascaper efforts. I also happen to like it very much for what it is and what it tries to do.

In my opinion, aquascaping is art so you must behold it for yourself and make your own opinions. How does the piece speak to you? How does it make you feel? How well do you think the aquascape does what the aquascaper intended? How well composed is it?

Our Preciousss is not a typical aquascape where nature is the object that we are trying to idealize. It is similar to the iwagumi fourth style whereby a scene is captured. It’s intent is for you to get the same feeling you would get when beholding the aquascape as you would if you were watching the scene in it’s natural place. Hence, in iwagumi, you often see mountain ranges or forests like this years IAPLC winner.

In a similar manner, Our Preciousss’ subject is a Hobbit’s home in the fictional Shire from Tolkien’s famous works. It does a wonderful job. Let’s explore it in some more detail to see why it is that I find that it is very well executed.


As with my previous post, I’m a big believer in composition no matter what style of aquascape is being done. There are some general principles that will make an aquascape more powerful and dynamic. However, not all of the principles apply to an aquascape. Let’s see.

The above depicts the rule of thirds that most of us know and use. It clearly shows that the scape is well positioned with the bulk of the weight being on the right and in line with the right third. Likewise, the leaves on the tree are perfectly positioned on the upper third. As a result, the composition seems well balanced to me.

I am struggling with a focal point, however. Is it the hobbit house or is it the door and chimney? To me, I think my eye is drawn to the door so that I would prefer if it were a bit more to the right and closer to the right third.

Just to be complete, the above shows the golden mean or section. Again it shows that the composition is well balanced with the hobbit home on the right. As above, the door is trying to grab my attention so I would have moved it to the right vertical.

The scape also does a good job in drawing the eye to the focal point- the hobbit house. Although, as i said above, I feel the composition would have been stronger if the door and chimney were positioned a little more to the right. All three design guides have shown that the door is too centered in the scape.

When we bring in the golden triangles, we do see subtle triangles revealing themselves. Can you see the pleasing slope from top right to bottom left?

The harmonious triangles reveal some use of triangles that makes the scape pleasing to look at. However, unlike Luis’ composition in the Iron Aquascaper, this one doesn’t have as many triangles. That’s OK. This aquascape doesn’t need it.

Having used the above guides to determine that the composition is well put together, we must next look to the items chosen to make it.

Use of hardscape and plants

This is where I think this aquascape shines. The artist, keeping his scene in mind, has chosen to use rock, wood and plants that perfectly represent something else. The wood and fissidens is morphed into a wonderful tree. The eleocharis is tall grass as is seen everywhere in the Shire. The moss on the hobbit home is fantastic and also a perfect representation if you’ve seen the movie.

Yes, it’s a bit monochromatic but that’s by intent.  Color must be used to support the intent of the artist. Here, the use of other colors such as red would have detracted from the goal. So the aquascaper focused on the use of proper texture and form to recreate the scene. The plants are trimmed to perfection to, again, further capture the scene in perfect scale.


Putting aside any arguments about not using fish or the long term viability of this scape, I think it is one of the best examples of the “scene” style of aquascaping that I’ve seen. In this style, the aquascaper attempts to depict a scene using plants, wood and rock. It’s a difficult style because it must “suspend disbelief” in the viewer so that the intended scene comes through.  Our Preciousss does exactly this.

I’ll have to keep an eye on Aquarium Design Istanbul and see what they come up with next.

All the best

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2 Comments on “Analysis of Our Preciousss”

  1. Pingback: I can grow plants but can't scape...

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