The ultimate garden challenge, since no plant is ever really completely black, and yet, black can be light, as Soulages says, and Matisse always maintained that “black is a colour”. This garden installation simulates space, which draws the visitor into a physical virtuality. Whereas in choreography the body dances to describe space, here, in this garden, space dances for the body. This garden installation is simple. It is similar to the chamber of curiosities, but this time outdoors. Whether it is raining, cloudy or sunny, the rain, clouds and sun reflected, in the mirrors and water feature, strengthen the overall effect and make it more dynamic. A border of black metallic mirrors, that are not entirely reflective, draws the boundaries of this oval garden. The absence of corners, the non-vertical mirrors, inclined in an irregular fashion, set on an easel at the back, reflect and reduce the reflections while distorting them, all the while absorbing them into the blackness. The ground is dark, made of fine tyre shavings, absorbent underfoot, covering the gently worked surface and dipping down to a central plant planted with Black Ophiopogon. The mirror boundary forms a chicane at the entrance immersing the visitor, whether alone in a group, in this black kaleidoscope.
Odile Decq was born in 1955 in Laval in Mayenne and is a graduate of the Paris la Villette School of Architecture (UP6) then of the Institute of Political Studies (Institut d’Etudes Politiques - IEP) where she trained as a town-planner. In 1979, she founded the ODBC Agency, which she has been running on her own since Benoît Cornette passed away at the end of 1998. Since 2000, the agency has been developing a large amount of business in the design field, in collaboration with industrialists. In 2007, Odile Decq took over the running of the École Supérieure d’Architecture (Higher Institute of Architecture). As a teacher at the School from 1988 to 2004, she was chosen by the Board of Directors for its educational project. Her ambition is to raise the level of teaching and train top-quality architects able to work abroad. Her conviction is “that an architect must know the world to provide nourishment for his projects and take a stand on the evolving world”.