-->La Terrasse: The landscapers have succeeded in making it a communal space. Photo: Richard Hanson
The Art, Cities & Landscape initiative takes place in France, but celebrates artistry from all corners of the globe. Written by Jackie Bennett
Celebrating gardens, creativity and urban culture, the Art, Cities & Landscape initiative celebrated its sixth year in the summer of 2015. Situated on a 300-hectare site encompassing the islands and waterside hortillonnages (former market gardens), the festival encourages young French designers but is also open to international talent.
In 2015, there were 10 newly created gardens and sculptures, making a total of 38 across the site. Key to the success of the installations is how they respond to the location – in woodland, on islands, in fields and some in the water itself. Several British garden designers have taken part, as well as international artists, sculptors and designers from other disciplines, and each year the diversity of participants is increasing.
1. La Terrasse
Designers: Collectif CoacheLacaille & Georges: Victor Lacaille, Maxime Coache, Thibaoult Barbier, Luc Dallanora
The first city centre garden for the festival lies behind the Office of Tourism, close to the cathedral. The linear shapes echo the hortillonnages but are also typical of many spaces faced by urban designers.
Igne: The whole piece is made from a cone of stretched tarpaulin. Photo: Richard Hanson
Designer: Angela Kornie
Australian born artist Angela Kornie, who studied at the University of Rennes, has created a piece that plays on the idea of fire and water – in this case, a volcano that appears to emerge from the water’s surface.
3. Les Waders
Designer: Stéphanie Cailleau
Combining land art and textile design, Cailleau has taken a useful item of fisherman’s clothing – chest-high waterproofs – and transformed them into half-human creations, which are both eerie and intriguing, and perfectly in tune with the wooded, marshy site.
Dazzle Gabion: The floating island. Photo: Richard Hanson
4. Dazzle Gabion
Designer: Jeanne Tzaut
This takes its cue from the ‘dazzle’ paintings on the side of battleships in World War 1 that made them harder to target. This trompe l’oeil floating island is intended to totally confuse visitors as they approach by boat.
5. Pop-up Island
Designers: Collectif MaDe: Baptiste Marquet, Antoine Derrien, Matthieu Blin, Alexis Deconninck & Valentine Bruzzone
Taking its inspiration from pop-up books, a temporary framework of metal reinforcing rods has been installed around the damaged banks, which both protects them and acts as a trap for organic material, helping stabilisation.
Girotranche: Marc Herblin’s giant weather vane. Photo: Richard Hanson
Designer: Marc Herblin
This piece is inspired by the six years Marc spent as an agricultural labourer while studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Referencing farming practices and plant production, he has designed a giant chestnut-and-steel weather vane that moves imperceptibly, to show seasonal changes in the prevailing wind.
7. Entropic Growth
Designers: Sophie Mason & Simon Brown
Founder of the UK regenerative development trust, Landstory, Simon Brown teamed up with artist Sophie Mason to create a thoughtful evocation of hortillonnages past and present. Drawing on folklore, they used materials collected onsite – stones, hazel and willow – to create magical cabins, while traces of the market gardener’s occupation are marked out on the earth in lines of cabbages.
Robinsonnade in the Aire: The series of nests and cocoons was inspired by watching the way wildfowl used the island. Photo: Richard Hanson
8. Robinsonnade in the Aire
Designers: A-mar: Rozenn Duley and Grégory Dubu
Getting into the mindset of Robin Crusoe, onsite materials are again used to transform one of the most remote islands in the étang and tell a story of rising water levels. New and exotic seeds have been washed in, allowing the team to include Rodgersia, Tricyrtis and Heuchera in their woodland and waterside planting.
9. Small is Beautiful
Designers: L’Atelier du Gründberg: Yvan Cappelaere, Mylene Andreoletti, David Belamy
Three landscape designers who met while studying in Versailles set themselves the objective of producing a beer from hops grown on the hortillonnages. The result is a French hop field with a bit of German beer garden thrown in.
Souche: The sculpture is designed to cohabit with the trees. Photo: Richard Hanson
Designer: Yuhsin U Chang
The Taiwan-born artist now lives in France and exhibits all over the world. Making a link between the inert and the living, Chang has created a resin sculpture strengthened with metal rods in a woodland setting on the Ile aux fagots.