From left to right: Manon Bordet-Chavanes, Sandra Dufour and Simon Visconti
Manon Bordet-Chavanes is originally from New Caledonia and has roots in Martinique from where she gets her love of colour, nature and above all plants. She came to mainland France to continue her studies after the baccalaureate in 1998. After spending some time in the Paris area, and then at agronomy school in Montpellier and studying ecology in Rennes, she then spent a year abroad (Spain, Netherlands, Australia) to acquire experience focusing on urban ecology. She then continued her studies at the National Institute for Horticultural and Landscape Engineers on landscaping techniques. After this she worked in a landscape and/or environmental design office in Nantes on botanical, ecological and landscape studies within the framework of development projects, local urban planning studies and operational studies for ZACs [joint development zones] in urban, rural and coastal areas. In fact, her idea is to think about nature upstream from development projects, so as no longer to record, but rather to participate, create, bring the city closer to plants and vice versa. She is now in a landscape design office in Paris and is working on promoting an association for garden knowledge, the Conservatoire des Jardins et Paysages [Conservatory of Gardens and Landscapes]. For her, Chaumont is a dream opportunity to exchange, learn and create a garden amongst friends, with six helping hands – or indeed more -, and each person contributing a little of themselves.
Sandra Dufour was born in 1982 and trained at the Decorative Arts School in Strasbourg as a visual education student. In order to broaden her range of possibilities, in 2006 she went to Dublin for four months on an Erasmus exchange to the NCAD (National College of Art and Design) in the textiles department. This experience really opened her mind and was a decisive factor in the way her work developed. Textiles, with embroidery, became her preferred medium. Since her diploma in 2007, Sandra has been a freelance artist. She is a “textiles” illustrator for the press and works on publishing projects. She is also involved in group projects with other artists and asks questions about the city and plans in her large-scale embroideries. At the same time, Sandra creates and leads artistic workshops in museums, so as to raise children’s awareness of textiles. In May 2008, the municipal museum of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines commissioned her to do a textile installation for “Rendez-vous aux Jardins” [Garden Dates]. Renewing this experience of space, at the meeting point of the disciplines, along with her friends, is an ideal complement to her solitary work in the studio.
Simon Visconti lives and works in Paris. He is an architect and at the same time develops painting and drawing work with greater freedom. After initially getting a diploma from the Higher Institute for Construction Work Engineers in Cachan, he wanted to fulfil his creative desires and continued his apprenticeship at the School for Architecture, Town and Regions in Marne la Vallée which he left in 2008. His experience of "wearing two hats" was an ideal background for working in a design office to begin with, with the aim of perfecting his technical vision, before going back to an architecture agency. As he demonstrates a strong attraction for wood as a building material, this garden at Chaumont is a wonderful experimental terrain for him on a very special scale.