In the summer of 2006, I took a trip to Washington DC and was roaming around all manner of museums, galleries and bookstores when I found this book:
This book beautifully covers the legacy of Brazilian artist/naturalist/landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994)–I won’t go over his life and achievements here, but he introduced modernist landscape design to Brazil, and countless designers have been influenced by his work. In a nutshell, he was committed to:
- Nature based aesthetics
- Never blending flower colors
- Use of native plants
- Use of large groups of the same specimen
- landscapes/gardens that are inspired by art
Although I’ve used a number of plants with various colors, I designed three tiers (an upper curved steel planter and two lower retaining walls) that echo each other’s curves, and finished off with a river rock bed that spans three tiers without a break in the line.
Even with container designs, nature-inspired aesthetics can shine through. Here I designed two custom steel planters, added matching bamboo muhly grasses and finished this entryway setting off with a topdressing of golden gravel to pick up the stained concrete color, along with chunky gray Mexican moon pebbles clustered at the base that mirrors the color of the brick wall.
The designers that have inspired all of us have done their work well–they not only created spectacular landscapes of their own, but they have planted seeds of inspiration for generations to come. While many of my designs are decidedly not Marx-esque, I actively look for projects where I can create a more graphic, organic-based and artistic sensibility.
I invite you to read more about the other people who have inspired my Roundtable co-horts by clicking on the links below: