A look at the 21st edition of the International Garden Festival

Joanne Lacoste - MCQ, Nathalie St-Pierre, UQAM, Jean-Christophe Lemay, Martin Bond, François Ozan - Icône,

Quebec, Canada,

Land Art,


This year’s International Garden Festival at Reford Gardens in Canada entitled Métissages - blending or crossbreeding - was somewhat out of the ordinary. The five design teams selected from among 200 submissions following an international call for applications were unable to travel to Grand-Métis in June. Still, the Festival team built their installations to make sure the event could go ahead as planned.

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A look at the 21st edition of the International Garden Festival Yesterday was the final day of the International Garden Festival the most important contemporary garden festival in North America that we have been covering for many years. Like every year, the 21st edition took place at Les Jardins de Métis, located at the gateway to the Gaspé Peninsula Grand-Métis in eastern Quebec. 2020, an unusual year for all, and here out of the ordinary because the pandemic meant that the five design teams, selected from among 200 submissions following an international call for applications were unable to travel to Grand-Métis in June to build their installations. So, the Festival team did it for them, to make sure that at least the local visitors could enjoy the landscaping responses to this year’s theme: métissages
The word itself means “blending or crossbreeding” and in the context of contemporary gardens can refer to the practices of creative expression, plants (native or exotic) and materials (natural and manmade)—a mix of approaches to create new opportunities for exploration.
The five interactive spaces chosen in the 2020 call turned visitors into active participants. Let’s look at them more closely:
Augmented Grounds is the proposal of the South Korean team - the architects Soomeen Hahm and Jaeheon Jung, with the landscape architect Yumi Lee. The installation was inspired by the traditional sash of the Métis Nation of the Western Plains and allows you to lie on the ground to feel in harmony with the natural context.
Corps de Resonance by Charlotte Barbeau, designer, Leila Desrosiers, designer, Félix Roy, environmental designer and Jean-Benoit Trudelle, intern in architecture, all from Montreal, is instead a “musical folly” that takes shape in a forest glade, where visitors set this giant instrument vibrating.
ENTWINE by the landscape architects Waiyee Chou and Carlos Portillo, respectively based in Toronto and Montreal, incorporates the ancient knot-tying technique of macramé to highlight the varieties of plants hybridized for horticulture. Inside a spiral, visitors are free to wander through and weave in and out of the structure.
Forêt corallienne by the architect Lucie Bulot with the designer Dylan Collins, from Montreal is a coral forest of a different kind. A community of limestone creatures takes root in the forest, a métissage of colour and form that creates an unusual landscape and a new hybrid world.
(Mé)Tissages by the architect Duc Truong, based in Strasbourg, France, is a woven landscape that invites visitors to enter through layers of coloured string into a space created by the weaving of various elements. This experimental garden unites visitors through a shared experience of an installation that combines architecture and nature.
In addition to these new gardens were another two “extra-muros” gardens, i.e. in other locations outside the Reford Gardens. Roof Line Garden is by Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster, Canadian artists and designers based in Buffalo, New York and Ressac by Mégan Dorigo, Aurélie Martel, Audrey Sambeau and Mireille Simard, graduates of the Graduate Diploma in Event Design of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). We can also enjoy these installations from a distance, through all the pictures sent to us from Canada, in the hope that a personal visit will be possible for the next edition.

Christiane Bürklein

International Garden Festival
from 20 June to 4 October 2020
Reford Gardens, Quebec, Canada
Images: see captions
Find out more: http://jardinsdemetis.com/en/

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