© Yann Monel


Sophie Mason, Simon Brown, paysagistes

The work

With regard to an area of land, what is our responsibility? That is the question asked by the duo of designers Simon Brown and Sophie Mason. Although our world today is experiencing an unprecedented environmental crisis, gardens allow us to better understand nature, in a planet in turmoil. Perhaps a reason to take better care of these spaces – present and past, in the image of the Hortillonnages. Drawing on mediaeval writings, which described gardens as places where you could nourish the mind as well as the body, these two designers have used elements of the magic and folklore of the location, in particular the traces left by the old cabins. Using cabbages to mark out the surface of the land and materials collected on site (willow branches, hazel bushes and stones), they explore different landscape forms. Based on trees already planted, a cabin takes shape leading you to think that it is growing in the midst of this vegetation. This island steeped in mystery and magic comprises both history and modernity and responds to the strong influence of its surrounding environment.

With the support of the French Ministry of agriculture, food industry and forest – Draaf Nord Pas de Calais Picardie.

The artist

Simon Brown is a landscape designer and founder of Landstory, a regenerative development trust. He teams up here with the artist and “urban cultivator” Sophie Mason. Their objective is to create links between nature and human beings, through the garden, for their first collaboration for the Art, cities & landscape Festival.