17. Les Sept Vallées
published at 13/03/2018
This spiralled garden unravels the tale told in The Conference of the Birds, a collection of poems in Persian published in 1177 by the Sufi poet Farid al-Din Attar, in which a group of birds led by a hoopoe set out across seven valleys (the quest, love, knowledge, detachment, unity, perplexity and poverty and annihilation) to achieve the original goal of their quest: to find their king.
Making their way along this vegetable band running from the ground skywards, visitors are invited to read the texts set in the ground and let their senses come awake as they follow this “gardened thread”. The poetry therein suggests a progression of thought, developed in seven stages, seven extracts from The Conference of the Birds and its seven valleys. Physical elevation and variations in plant colours and textures act as invitations to reflection and contemplation. How far will your thoughts take you? What will you find?
“You have travelled long, you thought yourself lost. But you have stayed together. It is yourself that you have found.” Farid al-Din Attar
Sébastien CHEVRIER and Lydie MAJCHERCZYK, architects, and Noémie CHABERT, landscaper
The bond between Noémie Chabert, Sébastien Chevrier and Lydie Majcherczyk was formed around shared interests and values. Noémie and Lydie’s friendship sprang from their interest in drawing and an identical taste for graphic depiction of landscape as a tool for understanding. Lydie and Sébastien shared the same workspace, Mutualab, a coworking initiative in Lille where common values bind individuals and allow exchanges and collaboration free rein.
These overlapping encounters and converging interests in space, art, architecture and landscape led naturally enough to a shared desire to pool their skills and knowhow in implementation of common projects based on appropriation of sites, experimentation and examination of the relationship to space and landscape.
Sébastien Chevrier is a State-registered (DPLG) architect who graduated from Nancy’s National Higher School of Architecture in 2006. He works as a freelance architect in the same city for both himself and for others with whom he complements his training. In 2008, he obtained a DPEA (a diploma specific to 9 National Higher Schools of Architecture), option Architecture and Philosophy, from Paris la Villette National Higher School of Architecture, under the supervision of Jacques Boulet and Chris Younès. He then devoted himself to gathering fresh experience and contacts up until 2010, in which year he set out for the north, settled in Lille and joined forces with two long-time friends to set up bonjour les architects!, a Lille/Paris architectural cooperative. Together, they won the “Delta Cities of the Future” competition held by UNESCO-IHE, and continue to focus on public and private project work combining conceptual concerns, contextual interest and a measure of material simplicity. In 2016, drawing on his past experience, he decided to go it on his own. His new setup, La Troisième, provides him with an opportunity to assert his preference for unusual contexts rather than run-of-the-mill projects. With a liking for dealing with the complexities of reality, he mainly concentrates on domestic architectural projects, where challenges stem from personal feelings and stories. Nonetheless, as his penchant for philosophy and art often catches up with him, he works with others as and when fresh acquaintanceships and shared interests dictate, on the occasion of open consultations.
Lydie Majcherczyk graduated from Paris Val de Seine National Higher School of Architecture in 2007 and now has 10 years’ experience in her chosen field, including 5 as agency project manager. She now works freelance, but previously worked in three agencies of different sizes in which she occupied a range of positions, adding to her CV and acquiring a variety of skills running from project design to implementation. She was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to collaborate on large-scale projects. Nowadays, she works at various levels, from private houses to experimental ephemeral onsite installations, where there is always a special direct relationship with nature. Born in the Paris region, she has always loved travelling to and working in different places and sites, enabling her to explore new techniques and meet and collaborate with others in order to pool their skills. Working with multidisciplinary teams, landscapers in particular, is very important to her as it broadens her outlook and enables her to tackle ever more rewarding projects. And it is for these very reasons that she has joined forces with Noémie and Sébastien to create the “7 Valleys” garden for the 2018 edition of Chaumont-sur-Loire’s International Garden Festival.
Born in 1980, Noémie Chabert is a landscaper trained at Blois’ National Higher School of Nature and Landscape who took up a second career as an urban planner (Office of Professional Qualification for Urban Planners – OPQU) in 2009. As such, she focuses on public commissions for projects of a sensitive nature as regards sites and their hosts, including forward-looking studies of large-scale territories, pre-operational urban projects and design of public spaces in urban and rural environments. She has lived in Lille since 2002 but has by no means forgotten the Loire, which left its mark on her life path: downstream, the estuary where she grew up and which was the subject of her degree dissertation, and further upstream, Blois where she studied and now Chaumont-sur-Loire for the International Garden Festival.