But will this collection of pruned plants, abandoned by the gardener, be able to withstand the spontaneous colonisation of pioneer plants?
This garden is like a ghost, still harbouring remnants of a gardening collector's passion of creating geometric topiaries in simple, fun shapes inspired by Italian post-modern design. Without the gardener to keep it in check, nature is free to take its own course and soon all that remain are the wire structures that once guided the tree's development. These abstract sculptural skeletons are overrun by the free forms of an untamed vegetation…
Stefano OLIVARI and Greta COLOMBO, landscapers, Franck COUTANT, landscaper-set designer and events manager at the Jardins de Nantes, and Enrico AVATTANEO, an agricultural entrepreneur
From left to right: Stefano Olivari, Greta Colombo, Franck Coutant and Enrico Avattaneo
“My interest in archiving and books, along with my curiosity about nature in all its forms and variations, led me to landscaping and a compulsive need to collect seeds. After the years I spent training as a garden and landscape architect at the Rome and Genoa faculties, I joined a participatory planting project organised by Stefano Olivari, followed by an internship at his workshop that lasted several months. The same year, I enrolled at the Versailles National Higher School of Landscaping, hoping to learn more about landscaping project design in France while continuing to gather practical experience through apprenticeship placements. Since then, I’ve been testing out my skills on real-life projects and commissions, with a focus on the issues involved in popular participation in public policies on overall landscapes.”
“I live and work in the town where I was born, having set myself up there as a freelance landscape architect after my time in Versailles. I embarked upon a multidisciplinary study path, with a Master’s in History on André Le Nôtre’s first project in Italy to start off with, followed by a CEPA diploma from the Versailles National Higher School of Landscaping. My profession often takes me to the Italian peninsula, to Rome, Naples, Lecce, and so on, where I work for private clients, creating gardens inspired by their surrounding landscapes, seeking to anchor them in their settings by combining ecology, design and genius loci. Up until 2012, I headed a local landscaping and development project in one of Turin’s southern suburbs (a low-cost housing neighbourhood connected to the Fiat factory), focusing on urban agriculture. Since 2013, I have been at the head of ‘Stupinigi Fertile’, a territorial landscaping and marketing project combining onsite contributions by contemporary artists with promotion of cereal production. I took part in the Orti Generali project, winner of the Ministry of Education’s “Smart Cities and Social Innovation” competition for startups focusing on rehabilitation of abandoned urban farmland and creation of economic opportunities around social agriculture. Since 2010, I have been busy collaborating on Italian projects with the Franco-German landscaping collective Atelier le Balto, including ephemeral installations in the grounds of Villa Borghese in Rome, Villa Romana’s garden in Florence and the ecological public “Garden in Progress” created in Turin with the help of students and local inhabitants. This year, in partnership with Enrico Avattaneo, we launched a nursery specialising in topiary inspired by postmodern Italian design.”
“A true child of the countryside, my interest in botany was first aroused by my grandmothers, who introduced me to the art of gardening. At any early age, my main interests began to focus on the living world. My free time was spent observing plants, their reproduction and growth, and creating herbariums. My initial training took the form of a Master’s in Biology and Ecology at Rennes University, and my earliest professional experience was as a mediator and designer of exhibitions on various subjects held at Scientific and Technical Cultural Centres, after which I joined Nantes Natural History Museum’s Visitors Department. Working as an exhibition designer and organiser helped me develop a degree of know-how with regard to scenography. I then turned to managing educational exhibitions and activities at Espaces Verts in Nantes and organising botanical and artistic events in the city’s gardens. In 2007, I took an ongoing training course at the Versailles National Higher School of Landscaping with a view to developing skills in garden design. Currently, I am in charge of garden event organisation in Nantes, designing and organising outdoor exhibitions and events in regular collaboration with visual artists, architects, authors and landscapers.”
“I live and work in Turin. After passing my Baccalaureate in 1995, I began working on the family farm and, at the same time, as a computer technician for various Italian companies. Towards the end of 2011, I decided to devote myself full-time to farming, so fulfilling a secret dream. I took over the family concern, which lay in the historic grounds of Stupinigi and specialised in cereals, and invested in farming machinery, trying out advanced irrigation systems designed to reduce water and diesel-oil consumption. In 2012, I set up a small biogas factory for production of electricity as well as taking up apiculture and starting organic production of high-quality honey (acacia, chestnut, lime and millefiori). I have just started on production of compost based on fruit-and-vegetable market and mowing detritus. In 2015, in partnership with Stefano Olivari, we plan to start production of topiary on the farmland.”