PLANTS AS DESIGN MATERIAL IN GARDENS OF LE NÔTRE
Plants and plant material are, together with water and ground, the three classic design materials in landscape architecture. Contrary to architecture where new materials have enabled new directions for design, in landscape architecture the design materials have been the same since the very beginning of the making of gardens, parks and landscapes. The use and scope of plants and plant material as design material have their roots in the cultivating of plants for food, plants as medical herbs, in the making of gardens and in horticulture. The use of plant material for gardens, parks and landscapes forms the basis for nearly all landscape architectural interventions. The goal of this paper is to show the rich experience the profession has in the using of plant material as design material in particular in the work of Le Nôtre. In this paper we have analysed nine gardens of Le Nôtre on the use of plants and plant material at different levels of intervention. The analytical framework is based on the distinction between element, structure and process. The results are quite remarkable in the sense that they show the stunning craftmanship of Le Nôtre as designer. How he has created such a variety and richness of visual and spatial qualities with very few and simple design principles. Moreover it is interesting to see how he integrated the three design materials water, ground and plantation. This research is part of a larger research project that focuses on plants as design material in landscape architecture and urban design.
van den Toorn, M. (2010). PLANTS AS DESIGN MATERIAL IN GARDENS OF LE NÔTRE. Acta Hortic. 881, 909-920
landscape architecture, urban parks, public space, plantation as design material, Le Nôtre, historic parks, cultural landscapes