OVER 20 YEARS OF INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY
The International Garden Festival is the biggest contemporary garden festival in North America. Each year, we receive over 200 project proposals from more than 40 countries. In 2020, 60,000 people visited the International Garden Festival and got to safely enjoy the 25 installations!
The theme for the 2021 edition is Magic Lies Outside. (La magie est dehors). This year’s festival strives to bring us hope, to inspire creativity, and to brighten up the world as we struggle to make it through the global pandemic and get back on our feet after many difficult months of lockdown. The five projects selected this year will be integrated around the existing gardens to create an open-air museum for visitors to explore.
Since the first edition of the festival 21 years ago, over one million visitors have enjoyed, explored and been moved and inspired by almost 200 exciting and innovative installations. The International Garden Festival is a blank canvas for architects and landscape architects to develop new ways of perceiving and designing public spaces.
Gardens selected in 2021
Doors have long been considered a departure point, a gateway to step through on our way to adventure. Yet in the past year, doors have taken on a different meaning. Rather than throwing the door open and heading to adventure, our doors have remained firmly shut, keeping us apart from the people we love.
Porte Bonheur is a rite of passage between reality and potentiality. The installation invites visitors to dare to throw open the door, to cross thresholds, to go outside and to explore their surroundings with all the wonder of a small child. A reawakening through subtle distortion where a door—our daily symbol of lockdown—becomes something virtual and gradually disappears as the visitor wanders through the installation towards a new horizon. A natural, peaceful horizon, because there’s no doubt about it, the magic is outdoors.
Laura Giuliani – designer, architect and CHAMP-LIBRE associate
David Bonnard – architect,
founder of HYTT Architecture
Amelie Vale – visual artist
Our backgrounds and professional experience as architects, landscapers, graphic artists and artists have given us opportunities to meet and talk about interesting topics that we really care about. Building on the strength of our personal connections and exploring the idea of “playgrounds,” we confront our varying ethical, delicate, sustainable, responsible and social approaches to the environment and more specifically to the garden.
The title of this garden says it all — this installation is a figurative and literal open space. In Open Space, the walls of a typical house are opened out to create an open floor plan with endless possibilities. With a flick of a wand, everyday household objects—doors, staircases, windows and walls—take on new meaning. We can walk up and down the walls, dangle our feet through the door, stand and chat around the staircase, sit on the fireplace, the possibilities really are endless. In the past year, houses have become a symbol of lockdown. In Open Space, they go back to being a fun, safe and familiar place where you can let your imagination run wild. And when you let your imagination run wild, you can find magic anywhere.
Gabriel Lemelin – M. Arch
Francis Gaignard – Tech. Arch, M. Arch
Sandrine Gaulin – M. Arch
“Legaga” is the title of the shared document where we stored all of the extracurricular projects we completed while in school. Now, the name reminds us of how much fun we have creating together. We see every project as an opportunity to throw assumptions out of the window and find new ways of interacting with the public. Our projects exploit the unique possibilities and qualities of the world around us.
In the middle of a global pandemic brought upon us in part by global warming and its undeniable effects on all living things, fighting climate change by modifying our current toxic relationship with other living things and elements of nature: soil, water, air, plants and animals is now critical. Rethinking our connection to nature, after living in lockdown, can start with appreciating natural phenomena: the gusty wind, the wet bark, the musky shade, the dry air, the sweet smell, the hot stone, the crunchy gravels… The garden challenges the still frame images posted on the world wide web reminiscent of the eighteenth century picturesque. Malcolm Andrews described tourists seeking the ideal landscapes as “‘fixing’ them as pictorial trophies in order to sell them or hang them up in frames on their drawing room walls” (aka Instagram of the twenty-first century!). But a landscape never happens twice, and its lack of fixity and hyper sensorial experiences are heightened through this simple matrix that forms the garden. Running East/West bands of planting intercepts North/South bands of different hard materials. CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE, smell, touch, listen, taste and see.
Landscape and urban designers
Balmori Associates, Landscape and Urban Design is an experimental design office which explores the line between landscape and architecture, and between nature and culture. Landscape is a new discipline now. It’s an art and we seek artistic forms of representation. It’s multidisciplinary and so is our team. It’s crucial to public and a major actor in climate change – we develop new strategies derived from the interaction of water, earth, plants, and living creatures.
New York, USA
Sound mirrors are passive devices used to reflect and focus sound waves. Historically, they were implemented across the coast of Great Britain during World War I to detect incoming enemy aircraft. Sound waves bounce off the parabolic reflector and meet at the focal point where they are amplified, creating the illusion that whatever is making the sound is right next to you. Miroirs acoustiques consists of two parabolic reflectors (recycled aluminum antennas) planted in the ground. Positioned back-to-back, one points to the festival, an anthropogenic environment, and the other points to a forested area and the St. Lawrence. Visitors are invited to experience the two contrasting sound scapes.
The focal point is marked on the ground showing visitors where to stand. A hole in the centre of the sound mirrors encourages visitors to observe the environment on the other side of the installation and, in doing so, places them in the optimum position to hear the focused sound waves.
Emmanuelle Loslier – landscape architect
Camille Zaroubi – landscape architect
Project consultant: Vincent Loslier, civil engineer
Emmanuelle Loslier and Camille Zaroubi are landscape architects and musicians. They are particularly interested in natural phenomena that enable them to include movement and sound in their work. Their installations feature local materials or procedures and are brought to life through natural phenomena. Emmanuelle Loslier and Camille Zaroubi’s works emphasize repetition, symmetry, series and recurrences. From tiny particles to expansive landscapes, the sensory values of the environment amplify and become increasingly apparent until they are completely immersive.
You can see them from afar, unknown, yet familiar creatures standing in the field – seemingly waiting. They catch sunlight and emits a warm golden glow. The wind make them move slightly. You see them in va constellation, grouped together, but never too close to each other. They are the same kind, but each and every one of them have their unique shape and expression. A piece of nature that has been transformed in to something living. When you get close enough, you can see that the creatures are made up of millions of individual objects, straws of hay. Moving closer, you can feel the disctinct smell and you can touch the both sharp and soft flesh of the structures. And then you crawl inside. The covid-19 pandemic has taught us a lot. It has exposed a disconnection from nature, agriculture and the importance of biodiversity. All around the globe, a regained interest in traditional, sustainable ways of inhabiting the earth is emerging. Hässja is a installation based on one of these nearly lost arts of working the soil – hay-drying structures. The three structures, made out of the very plants surrounding them, are not only educational, they are formed and arranged in a way that enchances their inherited visceral qualities. Unlike normal hay-drying structures, these have an interior room. The small space inside each provides a refuge from the world of today, and provides for reflection on man’s relation to nature, to past and future ways of inhabiting our land.
Emil Bäckström – architect
Emil Bäckström was born in Östersund, Sweden in 1985. Educated in Architecture at Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology, Accademia d’architettura in Mendrisio, Switzerland and at The Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark. Educated in Architectural conservation at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Co-founded petra gipp studio together with Petra Gipp and Jonas Hesse in 2018, and runs a practice in his own name as well. The architecture of Emil Bäckström is deeply rooted in the traditions of material transformations, and always has a profound connection to the earth surrounding it.