April 1, 2007
by Canadian Architect
The 8th edition of the International Garden Festival celebrates sound, one of the essential yet frequently overlooked senses in the garden experience. To be held from June 23-September 30, 2007, this edition includes 14 outstanding contemporary gardens by designers from France, Germany, the United States, Qubec, and Ontario.
While sound is an important part of how we experience the garden, we often pay attention only to birdsong or rustling leaves. In five ingenious new gardens, designers propose myriad ways sound may have an impact on visitors experience and heighten their awareness of the audible in the landscape. The result of collaborations between landscape architects, architects, and sound artists, the gardens become musical instruments in themselves, include sound elements activated through the movement of the visitor, or are pure soundscapes. From the electronic treatment of the sound of poplar trees to the harmonic resonances of sonic cubes in a water garden, visitors are invited to explore the landscape in new and exciting ways.
Keep an ear to the ground in these five new gardens:
Angela Iarocci, Claire Ironside, and David Ross, from Ontario and Quebec, have conceived Pomme de parterre, in which the lowly spud becomes a generator of light and sound, creating a visual and sonorous environment within a potato patch.
Traverse, by Emmanuel Madan and Thomas McIntosh from Quebec, is a water garden in which the very act of walking is translated into a gesture that generates music.
Soundfield, by Doug Moffat and Steve Bates, from Qubec, is an open-ended listening experience in which electronically treated sounds of poplar trees are transmitted within a buffer of these same trees.
In La bote noire by Jasmin Corbeil and Stphane Bertrand with Jean-Maxime Dufresne, from Quebec, the sounds of childrens voices emanate from an enigmatic black box that rises out of a fallow field.
Cats Cradle by Catalyse Urbaine (Juliette Patterson and Michel Langlois) with Gerard Leckey, from Quebec, is a garden-sized aeolian harp, in which a lattice of piano strings, objects, and plantings combine to transform the site into a veritable musical instrument.
In addition, a special environmental project by 5.5 designers (Jean-Sbastien Blanc, Anthony Leboss, Vincent Baranger, and Claire Renard), from France, will be presented. Fleur de pot consists of biodegradable oversized flower pots that gradually become miniature gardens.
In keeping with a recent tradition, the Festival has invited six teams of designers to revisit their gardens created last year. These thoughtful and playful reinterpretations of the landscapes of the Gasp region, as well as far-off lands, will enchant and delight visitors anew.
CDULE 40 (Quebec) evokes vernacular rural, agricultural, and playground vocabularies in Sous-terrain de jeu, an interactive garden in which visitors participate in the planting the garden, but the earth is not as collaborative.
In bois de biais, Atelier le balto (Germany) reaffirms the force of vegetation alone to transform a space and advocates the garden as a place of movement and evolution.
In Core Sample, by North Design Office (Ontario), a grid of fabricated core samples filled with organic and non-organic materials collected from the region traverses the site, which is structured with beautiful grassy landforms.
Playing with the phonetics of the translation for greenhouse effect, Bosses design (Quebec) evokes the dramatic effects of climate change on our planet in Leffet dsert.
In Safe Zone, by Stoss Landscape Urbanism (United-States), an array of commercial products designed for potentially dangerous situations are turned to whimsical uses.
Le jardin des Hesprides, by Cao | Perrot Studio (United-States and France), draws on the sounds, scents, and materials of Vietnam, Caos country of origin, while in its own way evoking the riverine landscape of the St. Lawrence. A traditional Vietnamese lantern looms oversized in a black reflecting pond.
And finally, the elegant and visually intriguing garden installations by Hal Ingberg (Quebec) and Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch (United States) are being held over from previous editions.
Les Jardins de Mtis are located on the shores of the St. Lawrence and Mitis rivers in eastern Quebec. A national historic site, the gardens are one of North Americas premier garden and tourist destinations with as many as 100,000 visitors every summer. Created by Elsie Reford over a period of 30 years, they are a living testimony to her passion for gardening and plants. The gardens are open to the public daily from June 2-September 30, 2007.
Launched in 2000, the International Garden Festival takes place on a site adjacent to the historic gardens. A unique forum for innovation and experimentation, the Festival presents temporary gardens created by Quebec, Canadian, and international designers. This artistic event allows visitors to discover inspiring spaces bringing together the visual arts, architecture, design, the landscape, and nature.
Since its inaugural edition, the Festival has won several awards, including the National Post Design Exchange Awards, the Grand Prix du tourisme qubcois, and the Socit des muses qubcois prize for the best exhibition. In addition, numerous gardens have received awards from the Institut de Design Montral (IDM), the Ordre des architects du Qubec, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, Canada Blooms, and the Design Exchange.
For further information, please visit www.refordgardens.com