During the Renaissance gardens were organised according to precise architectural rules. Leon Battista Alberti believed that gardens should be exposed to the sun and the wind and reflect the ideas of unity underlying architectural structures. While the great Italian Donato Bramante designed the Belvedere garden for the Pope, French architect Louis-Martin Berthault created the garden at Malmaison for the empress Joséphine. History knows many such cases when architects turned landscape designers. But what about today? What if a contemporary architect like Zaha Hadid designed a garden? Such were the questions besieging Alexandre Grivko, IL NATURE’s art director and designer, who is responsible for around 500 large-scale private and public gardens worldwide.
After working as a landscape architect for 25 years, he grew increasingly intent on pushing horticulture in new aesthetic directions. One key signpost was Vito di Bari’s ‘Neo-Futuristic City Manifesto’ (2007), the bible of contemporary urban architects, which advocates combining art, technology, nature and ethical values. A comfortable human life is only possible, the architect argued, in just such an imaginative, well-maintained environment. Les Jardins d’Etretat in Normandy, France, have become Alexandre’s testing ground, promoting these principles since 2016.