Drawn into a labyrinth of gold and silver, visitors move between emergency blankets that reflect their figures, as well as those of the plants. One side is gold and at its base is a geometric arrangement of warm weather plants. The other side is silver highlighted by a water feature, with aquatic plants dotted here and there. The dry garden and the water garden symbolise the elements unique to the Earth. It is neither a sacred place for the dead nor an ideal for the living.
On the contrary, this garden questions life on Earth and draws attention to the danger our planet is in. We are in a world living on borrowed time. The paths represent the attempts made up humanity to undergo an environmental awakening. The emergency blankets also evoke the often strenuous migrations of people, plants and animals who, as they move, seek a more suitable paradise where they can protect themselves. An allegory of contemporary tragedies, this garden implicitly poses the question: do we still deserve our paradise?
Augustin DESCAMPS, state-registered landscaper, Pedro PEDALINO, landscaper, Daniel ALONSO, landscaper, Laurent DESCAMPS, gardener, Phuong NGUYEN, landscaper, Adeline LE COCQ, architect, Mariana SARDOEIRA, architect, and Hien VO, landscapers
LJ-Asia is a progressive landscape design office with presence in Brazil, Portugal and Vietnam. Our people are our strength. With over 50 team members, we are multidisciplinary and diverse with over ten different nationalities across our markets. All LJ-Asia projects are rooted locally and developed globally by our collaborative teams. We understand that landscape is a unique system with many interconnected layers. Therefore, our company’s vision is to deliver innovative designs that can transform any space to create meaning in people’s lives.
Augustin Descamps, a landscaper and graduate of the Bordeaux National Graduate School of Architecture and Landscape Engineering, chose “the art of playing in towns” as the subject of his final dissertation in 2016, thereby taking an interest in landscapes for play. Far from this issue, he now works in Vietnam. The first project he was assigned by the agency J-Asia was an agricultural park on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, demonstrating the harsh reality of putting together and proposing natural spaces in the middle of extensive urbanisation. He continues to be fascinated and delighted by tropical environments and palm tree silhouettes.
Originally from Brazil, Pedro Pedalino, an architect by training and landscaper by experience, decided on arrival in Vietnam to establish one of the first landscape architecture companies in a country where the profession is still little known. Thus in November 2015, he founded the company LJ-Asia, which is gradually contributing to the identification, reputation and involvement of the landscaper role in various Vietnamese projects. LJ-Asia’s recent involvement in the design of Cam Ranh International Airport demonstrates the evolving position of the landscaper in Vietnam. Another sign that this profession is being recognised is his involvement, through temporary urban installations, in the 2018 Playtime Festival in Ho Chi Minh City, aimed at promoting the appropriation of public spaces.
Originally trained in Architecture and Art, Daniel Alonso obtained his Masters in Architecture from the Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University of Madrid, as well as a specialised Landscaping diploma in the field of landscape design. He created Colectivo Desenfreno, a collective which develops small urban installations in Spain and has won several prizes for pieces including Desenfreno Amarillo (White Nights Art Festival, Madrid, 2010) and Vaya Valla (FIB Benicassim Festival, 2011). In 2014, he arrived in Vietnam and then joined LJ-Asia as an associate partner. During the last five years, he has played a role in and managed over 70 projects in 3 different continents (America, Europe and Asia), covering a wide range of programmes.
After driving all around France as a sales representative, Laurent Descamps dreamed of becoming a great gardener and making it his profession. He decided to fulfil this desire, laying the groundwork for his career change by going back to school to study the basics of the art of gardening, in particular by discovering and learning the vernacular and scientific names of plants. After completing this training, he set up Jardins et Clos in 2005, a company geared towards designing, creating and maintaining a whole host of gardens in and around the town of Fontainebleau. He still does this today with care and passion all year round.
Phuong Nguyen has a Master’s degree in Sustainable Urban Development from Darmstadt’s University of Technology (TU Darmstadt) in Germany. She swiftly developed an interest in urban ecology during her studies and, in 2018, Phuong honed her knowledge on the subject by taking part in the Smart City, Village and Region course launched by Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia. She also taught architecture at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH) before joining LJ-Asia, where she draws on her experience for the benefit of such projects as ecological parks, residences or private gardens.
Adeline Le Cocq is an architect, after completing a baccalauréat STI Arts Appliquées (A level equivalent, science and industrial techniques stream specialising in Applied Art), she attended the Bordeaux National Graduate School of Architecture and Landscape Engineering. After her graduation in 2017, she and Augustin Descamps participated in the first edition of Création en Cours 2016-2017, an artist-in-residence initiative for young people led by Ateliers Medicis with support from the Ministry of Culture and in cooperation with the Ministry of National Education. They worked together with school children to create a garden in the playground of a primary school in Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet. Since then, she has been working in Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam, in an architecture and interior design agency.
Mariana Sardoeira, a 2004 Architecture Graduate from the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto, gained such a strong interest in landscape over time that she has made a career out of it. In 2012, she moved to Rio de Janeiro where she was able to round her passion off with skilled experience by designing landscape layouts at various project levels. In 2018, on her return to Portugal, she accepted Pedro Pedalino’s invitation to join the LJ-Asia team and continues to design and develop Lusitanian gardens.
Hien Vo graduated from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture with a degree in Urban Engineering in May 2018. During her final year, her work focused on revitalising a village not far from Hue in the centre of Vietnam. Faced with the rise of mass tourism, many sites, like this village, must rethink the way they are organised and their flow management. During this project, she did her utmost to rethink the location’s urban planning and in particular the way in which people move around. Two trips to Switzerland, a country she loved, have made her want to go back a third time as soon as possible.