04. Temple à la nature
published at 09/03/2018
This garden is designed to evoke the geometrical shapes, symbols and sacred places that have stimulated human thought through the ages.
Like modern-day druids, visitors enter the garden beneath an archway topped by a triquetra and whose sides form a very harp of greenery. After skirting a “shrinal” square, they come upon a bordering stretch of water, a mirror symbolising the magical springs and wondrous fountains of Celtic legend. In the centre of the garden, a great pyramidal tumulus covered with lush greenery pays tribute to the nurturing soil, adding all the abundance of a summer harvest, whilst around it, vegetated totems call to mind the standing stones of the bygone world.
A living memory of times long past, an anthem to wisdom and the force of Nature, the garden represents the hope that humankind places in it with regard to its own future. Straw-bale cultivation, which is both soilless and ecological, echoes human inventiveness in preserving all forms of life in our gardens.
Arnauld DELACROIX and William BEZILLE, landscape architects, and Marie CHAPELON, landscaper
Arnauld Delacroix was born in Paris’ 14th arrondissement like his father and grandfather before him and his own eldest son. As a teenager, the Parc de Sceaux became his adventure playground, with Lycée Lakanal serving as a rear base. His love of freedom and wide open spaces took root. The family’s country houses (in Vienne and Landes) provided him with plenty of room for observing nature and the agricultural world. From the age of 12, during the holidays, he started restoring old farming equipment and utility vehicles (his present collection comprises some twenty examples, a number of which are extremely rare). General mechanics helped him answer the two questions that fascinated him: “How does it work?” and “Why is it like that and not different?”
His studies at Orsay’s Science Faculty led to his obtainment of a Diploma in General University Studies (DEUG) in Biology with an elective in Landscape and Spatial Planning; he went on to enrol at the Higher School of Garden and Landscape Architecture in Paris, having come to understand that in-depth study of the art of the garden was essential to his profession as a designer. Alongside his studies, he started to design and create his first gardens (collaborating with Patrick Blanc on a garden in Paris), including a Château park in Deux-Sèvres (winning a competition held for students). His meeting and collaboration, during an internship, with the late Pascal Cribier, helped him develop greater freedom in design and discover the elegance that could imbue properly handled projects.
After obtaining his degree as a landscape architect in 2000, he set up the Talpa agency (its name being the Latin for “mole”, that little creature so bothersome to gardeners) in the Paris region, basing his work on the philosophy of sustainable development: no use of chemical products in creating and maintaining projects, and use of concrete and bituminous surfacings only when absolutely necessary.
He created “Green Phantasy Landscape” in 2002, as a member of Grégorie and Philippe Dutertre’s team, and “Flowers’n‘Roll” in 2006 for Chaumont-sur-Loire’s International Garden Festival. In 2007, he was recruited as overall project manager for Nantes’ 10th Floralies Internationales, held in 2009 with scenography largely focusing on the environment. The event provided him with an opportunity to develop closer ties with landscape professionals, nurserymen, entrepreneurs, architects, urban planners and ecologists…
Since it moved to Saumur (49) on the edge of the Loire Valley (UNESCO sector) in 2004, the Talpa agency has worked on numerous projects, ranging from business park to château park via sustainable urban planning and enhancement of natural areas. Such diversity in its activities has earned it the following distinctions: Victoire du Paysage (Landscape Award) 2012, Prix de l’Aménagement (Spatial Planning Prize) 2014, the 2015 Loire Brittany Water Board Trophy, two Victoires du Paysage in 2016, and selection for the 2017 OFF du DD (Sustainable Development Fringe Festival).
In the context of cooperation (organised by the Pays de la Loire Region) between the Town of Dompierre sur Yon (85) and the Town of El Guettar (Southern Tunisia), Arnauld Delacroix is responsible for the initiative’s Landscape and Biodiversity component, which seeks to promote the rescue of a 500-hectare Oasis among French institutions.
In addition to his involvement in the Talpa Agency, he has developed such innovative ecological procedures as Chaussée Végétale ®, Potafoin ®, Murafoin ® and Végétect ®.
In 2018, Arnauld Delacroix is all set to create the Atelier Ligérien d’Adaptation Technologique Au Changement Climatique (Ligerian Workshop for Technological Adaptation to Climate Change), a company devoted to design and implementation of 100% ecological procedures focusing on landscape and housing.
Born and bred in the city, William Bezille soon felt the pull of nature and the “green life”. Determined to make his own humble contribution to their promotion, he has devoted most of his studies to landscape and spatial planning. A young graduate of the Higher School of Garden and Landscape Architecture, he works as a Landscaper/Designer at the Talpa agency, a technical design office focusing on landscape and ecology. In addition to his professional activities and with a view to assuaging his hunger for the green life, he has put his boots on and set up an open-air laboratory on Ligerian soil, devoted to the preservation and production of “forgotten” seeds with a focus on vegetable varieties, researching, in his own words, “the ability that a species has to adapt to a given environment”; and only old varieties are capable of such adaptation without losing their identity.
In order to combine her taste for art with nature, Marie Chapelon chose to study landscape at Angers University, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 2006. She joined a design firm the same year, participating in projects in the Middle East and Overseas France. The experience decided her to develop her knowledge in the fields of preservation of natural resources and support for biodiversity. In 2010, she joined the Talpa agency, where she set herself to designing and monitoring landscaping projects with ecology and the art of gardens as their common core. Now working freelance, she seeks to understand the identity of the sites she works on and the connections they form with their occupants, in order to create a subtle relationship, a living space with ties to the land, where art and nature intermingle in perfect harmony.