THE WINNING COMPETITION ENTRY FOR THE CHAUMONT-SUR-LOIRE GARDEN FESTIVAL, 'FRANKENSTEIN'S NATURE', SETS THE SCENE FOR A WORLD DOMINATED BY SCIENCE WHERE EXPERIMENTS CAN AND DO GO WRONG. IN A SCIENTIFIC ENVIRONMENT ONCE RULED BY ORDER, PRECISION AND ACCURACY, EVERYTHING HAD ITS PLACE, BUT IN THE WAKE OF FAILURE, CHAOS BEGINS TO REIGN AND CREATE ITS OWN DISORDERED PATTERNS. THE DECOR BEGINS TO DISINTEGRATE AND EMOTIONS BEGIN TO DOMINATE.
The garden sets the scene for a world dominated by science where experiments can and do go wrong. By making an analogy to Mary Shelley’s novel, ‘Frankenstein’, and taking inspiration from stage sets of the novel’s film and theatrical productions, the design concentrates on contrasting processes highlighting the unpredictability and temporality of scientific actions and their potential results.
"A strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw, felt, heard, and smelt, at the same time; and it was, indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses." (Chapter 11, paragraph 1).
The proposed design takes the motif of ‘understanding your senses’ and plays with the contrast between elements. Touch, smell and hearing are all present through different associations of materials, but the visual aspect is the one that is very much experienced throughout the visitor’s garden journey. Splashes of vivid red and green intensify the bleak, dark colour palette of the laboratory.
Associations of spiky, glossy and aromatic ingredients test and sharpen the visitor’s senses. Elements that are un-associated are paired together as a way of highlighting their intrinsic features and heightening the visitor’s awareness of them.
Step into what was once a pristine experimental setting but which has now become a stark environment and let yourself explore a different side of science. Smell, touch, interact with hybrid plants, have a close-up look at unusual combinations and let yourself become part of this set design. Be curious! Inside the lab, nature is starting to take over; mosses and dried plants hide the former clean, pristine lines of what was once laboratory space. Unplugged wires and the working utensils of beakers and test tubes have been left behind and become enveloped. Spilled liquids are absorbed and blended into the earth. Nature is transformed and as a result of scientific failure, new genetically modified specimens start to develop. Beauty begins to appear in the macabre, a different order forms as nature redeems the failure.
Four Projects Shortlisted for Northern RICS Awards
15 February 2016