Article by Radenka Kolarov Jardin des Rives by Studio Basta in Amiens, France.
Les Hortillonnages d’Amiens is an area that stretches alongside the Somme River. Since Roman times, the land has been hard and unusable so food was cultivated on small islands in the water. In modern times, the food crops were largely lost, leaving many islands unused and without a purpose. The MCA wanted to change this and with the help of Studio Basta organized a festival for art and gardening in this area. Inspired by the ancient Roman islands, still found on the water, Studio Basta built two wooden terraces that include benches combined with native plants arranged in a perfect order of color and composition.
History As an Inspiration? There are projects all around the world that have used the history of a local area for inspiration. Jardin des Rives is a small project, yet its design relies on a distant history, one that dates back to Ancient Roman times. Romans had a specific way of plant cropping and created well-known vegetable gardens on islands. Nowadays, these islands are abandoned and largely forgotten. Studio Basta’s main idea for this project was to re-innovate these islands and use them as the driving force behind the design. So, what have they done?Whether you feel tired and just want sit, or perhaps lay and enjoy the surrounding environment while listening to the sound of water and birds, they designed a garden that could be used many ways. The terraces also serve as benches and are made of light wood with an appealing, soft look. They fit in harmony with the adjacent older trees and the newly planted shrubs. The client’s wish was to reactivate the site by the Somme River intended for a festival for garden and arts. Studio Basta’s design was the perfect answer and brings people to the water and the water to the people. Water is the Key Hired as builders of the Jardin d’Érode, the Studio Basta collective discovered the Amiens Hortillonnages during the 2011 festival. The landscape designers were moved by the beauty of this place and decided to return for a second time in 2012. This time as designers of an installation with the desire to bring the visitors closer to the water. In fact, they noticed the preceding year that even working in a setting surrounded by water, and practically in the water, they still had little contact with the aquatic world, despite their proximity. The focus of their design is, therefore, on the edges of the island, as close as possible to the bank. The banks of the islets are relatively high with respect to the water surface, which made it difficult to encounter the water. So, the wooden terraces were a solution to this challenge. A succession of gently sloping, flat surfaces act as a gradual transition between the land and the water. Also, in contrast, the middle of the islet is a dense mass of plantings with various plants commonly found in Picardy landscapes. Quality of the Environment The most essential aspect of this design was to improve the natural environment with little impact to the land. In the middle of the islet is a mass of Rosemary leaf willows. These plants are comparatively slow-growing and reach heights of 50 to 100 centimeters and widths of 1.5 to 2 meters. They are deciduous with leaves that turn into an attractive yellow color in autumn. The grey color of their foliage during summer months, shaded with blue and green, appears to mirror the sky of northern France and its “rambleur”, a greyish light characteristic of Picardy landscapes. The whole effect gives the islet a soft complexion, which blends into the neighboring landscape. Studio Basta once again proved they are a high-quality landscape architecture team. With a very simple, sophisticated, and clever choice of landscape elements, they handled the given task and created an exciting ambiance. If you haven’t seen the floating gardens of Amiens, here is your chance! What do you think about this project, would you visit it? Let us know in the comment section below! Full Project Credits Jardin des Rives: Landscape Architect: Studio Basta Location: Amiens, France Project Year: Spring 2012 Client: MCA Budget: 10.000 Euro Photos: Studio Basta Recommended Reading:
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Featured image: Jardin des Rives | Amiens, France | Studio Basta | 2012