This garden is an ode to earth, the complex substrate from which life draws its provisions. Used through the ages and across the continents as a building material, it is the basis of a great many homes and architectural styles. Whole sections of the Great Wall of China are made of blocks of clay and lime. Earth, as a material, is the linchpin of humanity. It can even create the conditions for spiritual growth. Here, visitors tread on dry, cracked earth. Vegetation creeps into the slightest crevice, adopting dynamic colonisation strategies. This is the case with Buddleia, also known as the butterfly bush, a collection of which are shown here, giving rise to a fluttering of many colourful, joyful wings. A giant egg in the centre of the garden represents the cycle of life. Made from a mix of earth and straw, visitors can walk through it or stop for a while to meditate on the way human ideas and technical progress have developed since the dawn of civilisation.
“I have lived around Paris for about twenty years, but I am driven by a voracious appetite for sound and a nostalgia for the beech woods of the Hautes Vosges where I was born. I trained as an acoustic engineer and started my career working in architecture and sound design before moving on to research the perception of vehicle noise for PSA Peugeot Citroën. It was when I read the ground-breaking book The Tuning of the World by the Canadian R. Murray Schafer (published in 1977) and Edith Normandeau’s 2009 thesis Plants as part of the soundscape that I turned my career towards exploring sound as a design tool in gardens and landscapes. I could no longer ignore the opportunity to rebuild my tenuous links with the natural world I grew up in, so I trained in design and landscape management at The King’s Kitchen Garden in Versailles. In 2011 I took on the enormous project of restoring the 18th-century Château of Ennery near Paris, along with its seventy-acre park and gardens. The work I had to do on this listed historic building took a long time and broadened my skills considerably. Since 2018 I have also been working as a freelance garden designer.”
PRISE DE TERRE is a group of visual artists who specialise in sculptures made from raw earth. They work together to create site-specific outdoor projects that are not designed to last and therefore have no impact on the environment. They use completely biodegradable materials including wood, branches, natural fibres, cotton, hay and earth.