Come and grow – the spoga+gafa blog » Articles by: Leif Hallerbach

Emu: Combination of Light and Pure Lines

The new collections of Italian outdoor brand Emu are a perfect balance between classic sophistication and innovation. The close collaboration between the brand and the designers Christophe Pillet and Stefan Dietz has been renewed.

Exploration of form, attention to details and the use of technological materials are the hallmarks of Ciak, the contemporary aluminium “director’s chair” by Stefan Diez. Simple yet sophisticated, Ciak is a perfect blend of function and design. The distinctive feature of the seat and matching footrest is the spiral shape of the aluminium framework and the transparent, high-performance technical fabric. The result is a solid, versatile, durable outdoor product, suitable for both residential and contract settings.

Also the close collaboration between Emu and the French designer Christophe Pillet has been renewed. Following on from the Round and Shade collections, the new Kira collection is a complete furnishing range, crafted in aluminium combined with a variety of materials: outdoor technical fabric for the seats and laminated porcelainfor the tabletops. The French designer has drawn inspiration from a combination of light, pure lines and elements with a unique personality, thus striking a perfect balance between classic sophistication and innovation, conceived principally, although not exclusively, for residential settings.

Further information: emu.it/uk

“Gardens of the Year 2016”: competition of Garten + Landschaft

The “Gardens of the Year” prizes were awarded for the first time this year. The winners have been determined since 16 February: architecturally clear lines, blossoming shores and expansive greenery received the award presented by the magazine Garten + Landschaft.

In addition to the magazine, Callwey Verlag and other partners are among the initiators of the competition for the German-speaking world. Sought out were private gardens that have been professionally designed by landscape architects or gardeners and landscapers. Called for were holistic concepts and a strong idea behind the use of plants, materials and products. From a total of 153 submitted projects, 50 made it to the final selection; the first place prize winner and three other projects will now be honoured with awards.

The first prize went to the Orel + Heidrich agency for the designing of an expansive house garden in Erlangen. The coherent spatial concept refers to the architecture of the residential building. An existing stock of pines was also cleverly integrated into the planning. The special atmosphere of the garden is characterised by the contrast of strict formal elements and luxurious perennials.

Three other projects were also honoured: the special prize of the jury went to the Design Associates agency, which supervised the renaturation of a wet meadow landscape in Seeshaupt. In the process, the ecological aspects of sensitive shore areas were especially considered. The special prize in the category “Green Architecture” went to a house garden in Bad Zwischenahn developed by Koch & Koch garden and landscape architects. An expansive villa garden in Meerbusch from the WKM Weber Klein Maas agency was convincing in the category “English Landscape Garden”.

All 50 projects including photos, plans and detailed product descriptions can also be found in a book appearing for the competition.

Further information: gaerten-des-jahres.com

Wetland Park: Apartments by David Chipperfield

Xixi is a national wetland park located on the outskirts of Hangzhou in China, which is thousand years old. David Chipperfield Architects have taken the wetland´s special athmosphere and intergrated it into new and modern apartment buidlings.

Xixi is a built landscape and an area of nature, which has been shaped by man for over a thousand years. The omnipresent relationship between landscape, architecture, and water is key to the atmosphere in Xixi, since it ist he only wetland park combining urban life, farming and architecture. This special atmosphere has now been integrated into a new development of apartment buildings by David Chipperfield Architects.

The apartment buildings are surrounded by a water garden, which, as a reference to the wetland park, is a mostly wild landscape. In contrast to these green surroundings, the buildings appear as dark stone volumes embedded in the water garden. They are, as is typical for villages in Xixi, placed on a stone plinth that sits in the water. This plinth forms the base of a village group with various levels, walls, and balustrades creating a sequence of exterior spaces, which enable access to the buildings. The interiors are characterised by floating spaces. Room height windows allow for natural light and views over the water garden.

Urban Garden: Residential Block in Aarhus

In the second largest city of Denmark, Schmidt Hammer Lassen plan to turn the city into an oasis of nature: The urban residential block is called “Valdemars Have” and will lie within a public garden in the center of Aarhus.

“Valdemars Have” is an urban residential block nestled amongst the cultural and green heart of Aarhus. It’s a vision for how to create good living conditions for people who want to be part of the city and want the city to be part of their lives. Resting on a sloping terrain in a tranquil location within walking distance of Aarhus’ major cultural attractions, the architects want the project to become a prime location in the city. The idea is to create an oasis of calm within the bustling city.

The project is a modern version of the old red brick townhouses and comprises of 106 apartments of varying size, from 2-bedroom flats to large penthouses with private roof terraces. It adapts to the city’s character and soul exploiting the site’s exceptional values and creating a unique public urban garden. The publicly accessible outdoor areas will maintain a garden-like character with a variety of plants and flowers, which helps to achieve biodiversity and a microclimate ensuring residents have an experience of nature within the city as well as peaceful common outdoor areas. The green façade gives the project a unique look and enhances the experience of a building “planted” within a garden, where the landscape and the green elements give character and identity to the building.

Exhibition: The New American Garden

Until May 2016, the National Building Museum in Washington will show a revolution in landscape architecture: “The New American Garden“ chronicles the careers and influence of important landscape architects Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden.

The two practitioners revolutionized the field of landscape architecture with their “New American Garden” typology, one centered on the use of broad and lush sweeps of grasses and perennials, and rich contrasts of textures, rather than the neatly clipped lawn-based landscapes that characterized post war American design. Significant public examples in Washington, D.C. include e.g. the German-American Friendship Garden.

The exhibition includes 52 contemporary and newly commissioned photographs of important residential, civic, and commercial projects. To supplement, the exhibition will include art that inspired the firm’s work, original plans and drawings, furniture designed by van Sweden and selections from a 2009 video oral history with van Sweden. The traveling photographic exhibition is organized by and presented in collaboration with The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF).

Further information: tclf.org