On the very edge of art and botany, Patrick Blanc has designed a brand new creation at Chaumont-sur-Loire. In inventing a new structure – a giant leaf rolling up into itself until it forms a secret cave, open to the sky – the botanist wanted to develop different biotopes, via a set of folds, leading to different light exposures. Creating different environments, from the darkest to the lightest, from the simplest to the most complex, favouring the presence and coexistence of many plant species, Blanc surprises us with the tremendous novelty of this visual gesture. The Domaine exhibited his first plant walls designed for the Garden Festival back in 1994, near the Vegetable Garden.
The botanist, CNRS researcher, Doctor of Science and French Academy of Sciences prize-winner Patrick Blanc has been exploring rainforests since he was 19 years old. He has written a range of scientific publications and participated in a great many radio and television programmes.
Patrick Blanc is the inventor of vertical gardens, or green walls, which make it possible to introduce biodiversity onto the concrete walls of our cities. This ingenious concept does away with the traditional belief that urban areas and nature cannot go hand in hand. The idea of the vertical garden blossomed from the observation of plants in their natural habitat, drawing on extensive botanical knowledge. The resulting display can cover as much surface area and height as you like and, as well as providing a beautiful view, green walls also help to clean up the air. A pilot garden was thus planted on the façade of the "Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie" in Paris in 1988. This was followed by a presentation of this invention at the Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival in 1994 - the first long-standing garden of this type. These walls can still be admired on-site, in the experimental garden. Another wall was unveiled at the Fondation Cartier in Paris in 1998, and more of Patrick's designs can be seen on the façade of "Musée du quai Branly" in Paris, in India, Japan, the US, Thailand and many other countries.
In 2007, Patrick Blanc developed his concept of vertical garden further by designing an astonishing green ceiling for exhibition at the "Espace Electra" in Paris. He takes his cue from examples observed in nature, particularly at the entrance of caves and along the horizontal branches of tall trees in rainforests, and offers up an archway in which plants grow downwards, their roots anchored in the crevices.
Spurred on by his love of plants, Patrick marries nature with art and beauty with scientific knowledge. He receives requests for commissions from all over the world, and as such has designed an array of extraordinary projects in the past few years in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beirut, Bahrain, Berlin, New York, Ibiza, Miami, Paris (including rue d'Aboukir and the Grand Palais), Geneva, Dubai and Sydney for example.
He is currently busy with projects in Singapore, Bali and Bangkok, and discovered a new species, “Begonia blancii”, in Palawan in the Philippines.