Banlieue

This six by six metre garden enclosed by high transparent walls is in the tradition of the walled garden, called a hortus conclusus in Latin.  Since the medieval era, this type of design has been characterised by its tightly enclosed form. Its designers, Deborah Nagan and Kate Jackson-Hulme have played on this definition by printing photos of apartment blocks on the translucent walls. So a piece of the suburbs is surreptitiously introduced into the Hortillonnages, a fragment of a large complex attached to a bank.  The landscape designers have designed it to create a totally “other worldly” experience: in gardens, stretches of water are in fact frequently used to reflect the sky and the clouds. Here, the situation is completely reversed, as the entire surface of the garden consists of water: so sky and marshland are turned upside down, while the climbing plants which cascade down the partitions reinforce the reversal effect. So the garden becomes a suburban neighbourhood which is home to luxuriant and exotic vegetation. Its roots are reminiscent of those of immigrants, uprooted from their country and relegated to the outskirts of cities, in suburbs where gardens and nature are sometimes inaccessible...

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