Awarded on the 23rd of June 2020 by a jury of professionals renowned in the world of garden art
Faced with so much beauty, we seek to define the forces responsible for nature and the world. This is where the figure of Mother Earth appears, representing both infinite bounty and intransigence. We must move beyond this egocentric view, where earth works for or against humanity, and regain our place and humility so we can understand that it is not a case of Mother Earth on one side and humans on the other, but rather of balance, a whole of which we are a part. This garden offers an opportunity to see through Mother Nature’s eyes and gain a new perspective. It is a long way from the fatalism that sees humanity as dependent on the earth and its generosity, but rather reveals their symbiosis. The forest, thick and unlimited, represents lushness, but also the most developed and complete form of vegetation. Passing through it, you reach a clearing in the middle where you will find an eye. This is where we hope to find the answer to our questions. This eye contains the world, reminding us that Mother Earth is made up of the whole of humanity and ecosystems where everyone plays a part. The sky also appears here, a symbol of the elevation of our conscience. Our reflection brings us back to the present and our belonging to the world. We are invited to take action and go beyond the boundaries. Like birds or insects, we can prove ourselves worthy of Mother Nature, spreading the seeds that will expand this forest.
Karin van Essen and Mark van der Bij founded MAAK.space on 1st January 2019, after working independently, but in the same office, for ten years. Since then, Louise Mabilleau and Thyra Bakker have joined the team. MAAK.space takes care of the whole of the outside space from the first idea to the placement of the last brick. We work on all types of projects and in many countries, with the main objective of seeing them come to fruition. The studio is located in the historic city centre of Amersfoort, from which two other freelance landscape professionals also work, sometimes joining the team for specific projects. The practice works as a network: a team is formed for each project and a specific approach is decided upon. It is essential to have a pragmatic attitude and listen to future users. Urban planning, architecture, landscaping, technology, ecology and product design all meet here.
Karin van Essen studied landscape architecture in Larenstein (IAHL) and Versailles (ENSP) and has worked in various practices in the Netherlands and abroad since 1999. She has been freelance since 2011. Like a spider on its web, she knows how to link together the elements of a project and the people involved. She is an enthusiast who knows how to listen, because behind every remark is a thought that can be used in the project. With boundless energy and a pragmatic attitude, she is always looking for the unique qualities that a design can offer in both the short and long term.
Mark van der Bij is a gardener and landscaper, who trained in Breda (AOC) and Larenstein (IAHL). He has been freelance since 2009. He works at the interface between design and build. He project manages and knows how to connect the designers’ ideas with the interests of the client. He focuses – to the point of perfection – on putting a concept into practice. His aim is always to refine ideas. His strength is in refining and implementing designs and as such he is an essential link between the conceptual designer and the practical craftsman.
Louise Mabilleau was born and brought up in Blois and at a younger age, decided to enrol at the Blois School of Nature and Landscaping. After five years’ study, which included courses abroad, she started working as a landscape designer in the Netherlands. She wanted to explore the Dutch way of designing landscapes in order to bring together the best of both French and Dutch approaches to create the most precise response possible for landscaping projects and current events. She has been a landscape designer at MAAK.space since September 2019, and sees Chaumont-sur-Loire as the perfect opportunity to bring together the best of the two countries.
Thyra Bakker is MAAK.space’s first trainee. She is studying Spatial design at the Rotterdam Academy of Art and will graduate this year. She wanted to deepen her knowledge of public space design and is undertaking a parallel course in urban planning and landscaping at the Amsterdam Academy of architecture. After her course, she intends to continue working in garden design, especially in creating gardens, taking the opportunity to work on the technical aspects of bringing them to life.