Strootman Landschapsarchitecten has designed a garden for the French garden festival in Chaumont-sur-Loire. 25 of the more than 300 entries will be realised there, including the entry from Strootman Landschapsarchitecten. With ‘Un hommage à Lady Day / a musical garden’ – the company applies its design philosophy to the scale of a garden. This year the garden festival’s theme is Body & Soul. Strootman’s garden is in honour of the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday (Lady Day). In a pink-white sea of flowers dominated by poppies, there’s an abandoned black lacquered piano and a microphone on a stand. The garden is a poetic portrayal of the emotive life of the singer. From the piano the classical jazz number ‘Body & Soul’ wafts softly over the wealth of flowers. This bittersweet spectacle can be seen by visitors from a comfortable jazz lounge, which provides for a moment of shelter from a garden full of fragile romance & addictive joie de vivre.
The outer shell of the garden ‘Un hommage à Lady Day / a musical garden’ is powerful and black; the heart is soft and pink. Black curtains enframe the garden and close off the area from the environment. At the entrance across the entire width of the garden, there will be a small black pavilion with lounging couches. In the garden you’re in another world, you sit on a platform and look out towards the garden, just like being in a Japanese Zen garden. It has an estranging effect and provides for a very powerful and dramatic image. Experimenting with hybrid shapes, playing with romance, enacting the dramatics and creating alienating effects; these are the characteristics of the design approach by Strootman Landschapsarchitecten.
The plants and shrubs of the garden in Chaumont-sur-Loire consist of annuals. These have already been pre-cultivated in the Netherlands, so that the garden has sufficient colour in the month of May. Pink poppies make up the main section, which is also a hint at Billie Holiday’s involvement in the past with drugs. Other types of flowers grow in- between including Myosotis, Malva, Cosmos, Echinacea, Anemone, Argemone and Lavatera, so that the garden bursts with colour in every other month.
Landscape Architecture: Strootman Landscape Architects
Client: Domaine Régional de Chaumont-sur-Loire
Location: Chaumont-sur-Loire, France
Cost: € 15.000
Area: 200 m2
Design: 2009 – 2010