Article by Anja Graner – LeMessi Labirinto di Jesolo, by Flavia Pastò, landscape architect, in Jesolo, Venice, Italy. In 2015, a unique and innovative attraction was initiated in Jesolo, a metropolitan town in Venice, Italy. It was LeMESSI, the corn maze, which attracted visitors of all ages and nationalities to test themselves on 6 kilometers of trails. The designers upped the ante in 2016, creating five different mazes with increasing levels of difficulty over an area of 50,000 square meters. The maze played an unusual role of connecting open air entertainment with the dynamic of local agriculture. Natural rhythms met the seasonality of the corn plant, whose cultivation is widespread in this region. Visitors and locals were able to experience a sustainable and affordable playground. This one location provided many adventures. Visitors could immerse themselves in the magical atmosphere and join in on theme nights with special entertainment.
LeMessi Labirinto di Jesolo
The corn maze emerged in collaboration with local designer Martino Messi and the American company “The MaiZe”. During a trip to the United States, Messi discovered “The MAiZE”, the largest maze consulting company in the world, specializing in designing and creating corn mazes. Fascinated by the idea and the designs, Messi decided to bring the attraction to the seaside town of Jesolo, which is characterized by seasonal tourism and agriculture. In 2016, the Italian landscape architect Flavia Pastò joined and designed the floor plan of the corn maze. Following the agricultural calendar, every year in April nearly 500,000 corn kernels are sown, and the maze plants grow during the months leading up to summer. In May, when the plants reach a height of about 50 centimeters, the trimming of the pathways processes according to a previously drawn map on the computer. The footpaths that spread over the area make up the whole maze, and the complete design is only visible from above.The maze is open from June after the paths are created to September, when harvest time begins. The corn crops are used for the production of flour and other food products. At the end of the season, the maze disappears, leaving room for a bare field that will sit idle all winter waiting for another summer maze. The LeMESSI maze combines the charm of an ages-old game with the seasonality of the corn plant, offering a proposal for a new entertainment that is eco-friendly and accessible to all. The green space offers a simple but not trivial game that involves a wide range of people, since no special skills are required to enjoy the maze. It is a fun attraction, but also educational. Young people can get an introduction to and a better empathy for agriculture. People try to find the way out by orienting and using their intuition, technical skills, and creativity. LeMESSI is a natural amusement park where visitors can have fun in an innovative and philosophical way. Its significance refers to the combination of a fun, relaxing environment with fresh air that provides recovery, leisure, and creativity. Getting lost in the maze doesn’t have to be scary; it can be entertaining. The aim is to find the way out as quickly as possible, but the intention is to get lost in the maze. Visitors enjoy an unforgettable experience by choosing shadowy paths that include various colors, forms, inspirations, and amusement. The maze transforms the natural corn field into whimsical, challenging pathways that temporarily change our perspective and relationship with the everyday built environment. It is a playground filled with dead ends where the journey itself is what’s important. Often, there are marks that help you find your way and alleviate frustration, but the idea is to get lost a few times before figuring out the terrain and finding the way through. It requires patience and time to solve the puzzle. Therefore, mazes tend to attract those who are interested in solving mysteries and facing challenges. Nowadays, modern maze makers are creating puzzle paths out of mirrors and other hard materials, as well as trimming them into cornfields and hedges. The maze as public art and entertainment brings particular creative attractions as well as strengths to the society. Successive lines of paths and barriers create a powerful design. A maze can provide different kinds of geometries, materials, colors, and shapes that each have their own individual impact and effect. What did you experience while walking through a maze?
Full Project Credits For LeMessi Labirinto di Jesolo:
Project: LeMessi Labirinto di Jesolo Location: Jesolo (VE) Designer: arch. Flavia Pastò, Landscape architect Costumer: CA’ Verde srl, with the sponsorship of Jesolo City Tourism department Timeline: April 2016_ Corn planting May 2016_ Cut of Path June 2016_ Opening September 2016_ Closing and threshing Area: 52.300mq the total area (with service, bar, parking) 50.000mq the Labyrinth area 462.500 grain of wheat 6 km of path 5 Labyrinths with different difficulty Cost: € 25000 Image credit: Flavia Pastò Recommended Reading:
- Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design by Michael Bayer
- Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature by Douglas Fa