Mathieu Gontier, paysagiste
(avec la participation de Chloé Francisci)

The work

Eroding is a verb which the Hortillonnages gardeners know well. Every year, the cultivators have to clean out ditches and canals and dig out mud and silt so that radishes, carrots and onions can continue to grow in the plots. Depending on their maintenance, these fields by the water are classified as anything from “well maintained” to “completely abandoned”. The AB5 area, a small wooded plot in the south of the marshland, is halfway between the two. To help it in its constant battle against the wetland, the landscape designer Mathieu Gontier has created the jardin d’Érode, an intelligent development which fights itself against the slow erosion of its banks. The banks bristle with a reinforcement system, designed for the occasion: like giant wooden prostheses, these projections trap the debris floating in the canals while at the same time supporting the tree roots. In the interior, large leaved perennials such as Gunnera and Petasites japonicus help to regenerate the soil by producing an abundance of biomass. Finally, the piles mark out the former boundary of the island – a simple way of monitoring the evolution of a place in perpetual mutation.

The artist

Born in 1981, the landscape designer Mathieu Gontier is a graduate of the École nationale supérieure du paysage de Versailles. His agency, Wagon Landscaping, endeavours to find simple and economical answers, suitable for the needs of users and the area being worked on.  A practice based on what’s “already there” at the service of the site and the environment with development projects located in France, Marseille and Dunkirk, not forgetting Paris, Belgium and Russia! Mathieu Gontier is selected for the Art, cities & landscape project in King’s Lynn, England.

Mathieu GONTIER and Estelle OLLIVIER from Agence WAGON LANDSCAPING are the winners of AJAP 2016 given by French Ministry of Culture and Communication for the five best young european landscapers.