This garden is a tip of the hat to Lewis Carroll’s stories, leading visitors into an unsuspected out-of-the-ordinary world of unexpected vegetable scenes.
The garden may be thought of as a kind of theatre, its foyer imbued with an otherworldly aural and visual atmosphere. A tunnel shrinks visitors like so many Alices, down to the size of the flowers surrounding them. They can perch themselves awhile on the tiers provided and take in an extraordinary vegetable tableau in which machinery turns above the greenery in playful illustration of the ingenuity hidden behind the beauty of flowers.
Once the show is over, visitors continue onwards, making their way into the wings.
The journey ends with a gentle return, back up to the real world. The flowerbeds alongside the ramps are composed of plants and flowers that make use of the mechanisms evoked by the machinery.
The garden closes up behind visitors as they leave, slowly coming out of a waking dream, in search of the white lupin…
Benjamin HENNO, landscaper and farmer, Karine HAUDRECHY and Johanès MONTAGNE, State-registered (DPLG) landscapers, Lucile HAMOIGNON, urban engineer and designer, and Chen-Yu ZHOU, landscape engineer
BELGIUM / FRANCE / CHINA
From left to right: Lucile Hamoignon, Karine Haudrechy, Johanès Montagne, Benjamin Henno and Chen-Yu Zhou
“We first met because we were employed at the same landscaping agency for a while. A desire to renew our friendship and work together on an ephemeral but memorable project led us to submit our candidacy for the Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival. We’ve assembled an eclectic international team, all the better for the diversity of our interests and skills. Our work is gelled by a shared desire to make our profession known: each of us approaches it differently but with the same passion. Certain of the fact that landscapes are not simply to be looked at but lived; we’re seeking to provide visitors to the Festival’s 2017 edition with an out-of-the-ordinary experience where observation of plant life combines with interactivity and play.”
Landscape engineer, graduate of the National Higher School of Nature and Landscape in Blois
"I was born in China in the 1980s, and after studying in Beijing, Tours and finally Blois, I became a landscape engineer. I’m always a bit “torn” between the two cultures; I lived in France for more than 10 years, working for a public body as well as for private design offices. For the last couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time wandering through little Chinese side-streets and gardens by bike or on foot, as a desire for change spurred me to return to my native land, which is undergoing a period of transition itself. Ever curious and fascinated by exchanges made in other languages, I became a local coordinator of and participant in a number of international professional workshops, in order to better adapt “European practices” to the realities of China.”
State-registered (DPLG) landscaper, graduate of Versailles National Higher School of Landscape Architecture
"Our garden, ‘In Search of the White Lupin’ is a journey back into the imaginary realms of childhood, taking us on trip into an extraordinary world, letting us forget our everyday lives for awhile…
On these few square metres, this philosophy transcribes my vision of the landscaper’s art: to conjure up dreams, an elsewhere, and above all to provide another way of seeing the landscapes that surround us. I’ve always been drawn to creation, do-it-yourself and design in general, and it wasn’t long before I wanted to get beyond do-it-yourself and start doing it for others. And what could be better than spending each day creating living environments for everyone to enjoy, spaces dedicated to encounters and exchanges. During the four years I spent at Versailles National Higher School of Landscape Architecture, I had the time to work on projects of all sizes and encompassing a variety of themes, in France and abroad. I honed my sensibilities on a daily basis through contact with my teachers and fellow students, seeking to refine and sharpen my view of the world around us, whether in the centre of Paris, the heart of Auvergne, Australia’s beaches or Chaumont-sur-Loire. I’ve been testing out my vision of landscaping since 2010, first of all in Roubaix and now in Lyon. The ‘In Search of the White Lupin’ garden is a new addition to a long series of spaces dreamed of and created, and will carry you back to your childhood when you visit it, as it did to me when we first imagined it.”
State-registered (DPLG) landscaper, graduate of Versailles National Higher School of Landscape Architecture, specialising in plant architecture and wickerwork
"How do you combine a grounding in science with a pronounced taste for art and handicrafts, ally preservation of heritage with contemporary creativity, stay in touch with nature, and meet, exchange viewpoints with and reach as many people as possible? I found my answer in landscaping. Versailles National Higher School of Landscape Architecture instilled me with the discipline and open-mindedness necessary to carrying out whatever kind of project. After nine years as a State-registered landscaper working on projects on layout of public spaces, a desire to create something with my own hands led me to the Ecole Nationale d’Osiériculture et Vannerie (National School of Wicker Cultivation and Wickerwork). A new pathway has opened up to me, and I can branch out on my own to practise a form of landscaping that combines design, creation, and respect for the environment and timescales…”
Urban Engineer and Designer, Graduate of Compiègne University of Technology and Aalborg University (Architecture and Design department), Founder and Manager of “Lady Harberton”
"I’ve always had a passion for creation in all its forms, from architecture, urban planning and landscaping to fashion design, object design, handicrafts, music, dance and art. My “hybrid” career path and interests have forged my holistic vision of design: an attempt to create an overall experience on a variety of timescales that can involve a whole range of disciplines and knowhow. After a solid grounding in science and technology during my years as an engineering student at Compiègne University of Technology, I went to Denmark to study Urban Design. I spent 2 years at Aalborg’s Architecture and Design department, during which I cultivated and rounded out a vision of design focusing on users in their urban settings. Following my return to France, I spent 5 years putting my vision into professional practice, working on a wide range of urban development and landscaping projects. In parallel, I continued to indulge my other interests, as a dancer/choreographer and costume designer for urban performances combining dance, theatre and interaction with the public. In 2015, well aware of the changes taking place in ways of life and mobility, I started on a new design project focusing on leatherware and textiles and specifically intended for women cyclists. The project led to creation of the “Lady Harberton” brand and the company I now manage.
For me, creation of the “In Search of the White Lupin” garden is another opportunity to imagine a new experience for visitors: a place that casts its spell and creates emotion through action and contemplation.”
Landscaper and farmer. Graduate of the Haute École Charlemagne in Gembloux
"I like walking in natural surroundings, drawing, creating, getting to know the world, and people. I’m from a rural background – wide open spaces, biotopes, biodiversity and scouting have been with me since my earliest childhood. I’m imaginative enough, and my skills with a pencil enabled me to leave Gembloux as a graduate in garden and landscape architecture. The 5 years I spent at a landscaping agency developed my knowledge and provided me with many invaluable contacts. I took over the family farm in 2012 and have since been able to work on my own projects. Taking part in the Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival has given me a fresh taste of the team spirit and added a new dimension to my work.”