- Le Jardin des Portes at the 28th Festival International Garden Festival in Chaumont-sur-Loire
The International Garden Festival held in Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, France is extremely popular with garden lovers. This year it is being held for the 28th time and each year it attracts more than 400,000 visitors who want to get hands-on immersive experiences in the latest landscaping creations.
The theme for 2019 is “Gardens of Paradise”. A landscaping study of that “place of innocence and delights to which all of humanity aspires”, making that dream of eternal happiness come true. The connection between Paradise and Garden is as old as humankind itself when you think of the major world religions or even just looking at the root of the word paradise itself because “Pairidaēza” is a Persian word meaning garden.
So how do we experience this concept of a magical place, detached from reality, in today’s world? What sort of paradise can modern-day humanity conjure up, uniting nature and the leading contemporary inventions and placing them at the service of human values and respect for others? In our times, is not perhaps true that humankind needs to design a new earthly Paradise by connecting and integrating two universes: the natural and the manmade? Just like in the era of Humanism, we are undergoing a major transition at this point in time, and this is generating a new world and a new “Renaissance”.
As such, the proposal by the young French architect and engineer, Quentin Aubry with the landscape architects Vincent Jannsen and Zeger Dalenberg is like a guide for a new interpretation of paradise that diverges from the idea of a locus amoenus, a literary topos involving an idealised place of safety or comfort. For their project called “Le Jardin des Portes” - the garden of doors - is based on the figure of the Roman god, Janus whose very essence, with two faces looking forwards and backwards embodies all the fascination and fear of human beings facing their own destiny.
This interactive garden has rotating doors made from dark, recycled wood that visitors can open or not, thereby making a choice. These doors open here on plants dominated by the colour white, there on plants dominated by darker colours. Their complementary nature conjures up the relationship between light and dark, between good and evil. A reference to the fact that life involves taking a stand. We can decide whether to take the less travelled paths or stick with what we know, therefore making us the architect of our own fate and fortune.
This makes the project Le Jardin des Portes more than just a garden, it makes it a playful symbol of our freedom and responsibilities. This proposal is highly popular with visitors to the Festival, which opened on 25 April and ends on 3 November, showcasing the whole palette of seasonal colours in the gardens from Spring through to late Autumn. In addition to the 24 temporary proposals for this 28th International Garden Festival, there are 15 permanent gardens at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire. A real must for anyone who’s into gardens and landscape architecture!
Project: Quentin Aubry, Vincent Jannsen, Zeger Dalenberg
Location: Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, France
25 April to 3 November 2019
Images: Quentin Aubry
Find out more: http://www.domaine-chaumont.fr/en/international-garden-festival/2019-edition-gardens-paradise