International Garden Festival Debuts New Creations

Five new designers were selected by the jury for the 17th edition of the International Garden Festival competition to present their projects at Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens between June 23 to October 2, 2016. Visitors will be invited to explore 27 contemporary gardens, and enter the interactive spaces created by more than 85 landscape architects, architects and designers.


Cyclops by Craig Chapple, architect, Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Cyclops is a singular object on the landscape as well as a singular frame of the landscape. Made up of 258 8-meter long timber and 1 x 6 boards, held in a concentric ring by two steel rings suspended from the surrounding trees by stainless steel cables.

Cyclops is held in a tenuous balance with the environment that provides for it. The central 1.5 m opening at the bottom of the cone is a highly-charged occupiable space for the viewer to both view the canopy in a new way but also truly feel the focus of the suspended weight as the physical latent force in the trees themselves. The viewer finds himself playing the central role of the work in rediscovering his or her relationship to the energy in their environment.


La maison de Jacques by Romy Brosseau, Rosemarie Faille-Faubert, Émilie Gagné-Loranger, intern architects, Quebec City (Québec) Canada

La maison de Jacques (or Jack’s House from the children’s fable Jack and the Beanstalk) is different from the one we know. You might think you have just stepped out of a children’s story. The house is a green grove that is enveloped in bloom. You enter by walking on stepping stones that traverse a ground-cover. Once inside, you wander between the rows of beans, tightly winding their way up a light wooden structure. The walls divide the space into a series of small hidden gardens, singular in their proportions. These cocoons are ideal hiding places for a game of hide-and-seek.


Le Caveau by Christian Poules, architect and landscape architect, Basel, Switzerland

The growing plane is shrouded in the intimacy of Le caveau (the cave)—a four-sided room of stacked gabions full of stones. Stone that allows light to filter through its gaps and washes the room with its shadows. It is a room of reflection. It is a room for dreamers. Just as the plane levitates before us, we are held in the balance of the stone and life itself. The personification of our own imaginations suspended in time. The primitive plane symbolizes a beginning—the seed and the soil, the tilted horizon between earth and sky.


Carbone by Coache Lacaille Paysagistes (Maxime Coache, landscape architect, Victor Lacaille, landscape designer, Luc Dallanora, landscape architect), Nantes, France

This installation evokes the cycle of production as a parallel to the carbon cycle. The garden landscaped or the landscape gardened. Regenerating the forest and sowing where we have harvested brings nature back to life. Transmit the love of landscape to those who will outlive us. A noble and familiar material, wood is our crib, our bed, our coffin. Cut a tree, remove it from the forest, in itself a vast garden, is the fruit of our labour. It is the result of the work of those who came before us, who planted a seed and provide us today with the wood that gives us rest.


TiiLT by SRCW [Sean Radford, architect, Chris Wiebe, designer], Winnipeg (Manitoba) Canada

Finding roots in the formal geometries of the labyrinth and the many informal camping traditions in the Canadian landscape, TiiLT is a transformable and inhabitable place for visitors to act, or to idle, however they may be inclined.

Each structure may be flipped between two orientations, responding to the position of the sun, offering alternating views and shifting pathways through the site. The toggling movement conjures a school of fish, or a flock of birds, flitting in opposite directions yet connected as a whole. The straw-like lightness of the structures and brilliant yellow skin recall a field of floral blooms, contrasting the surrounding green landscape and blue sky.

TiiLT challenges the notion of the garden in creating an interactive environment that is part sculpture and part landscape to evoke a sense of place and beauty from modest elements.

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