Performing Satire in Experimental Garden Design—
Chaumont International Garden Festival Award-Winning Garden “Levant”
TIAN Tian, WANG Di
田恬 / 1981 年 / 女 / 湖南长沙人 / 法国国家认证景观设计师 / 天津愿景城市开发与设计策划有限公司 / 研究方向为风景园林规划设计与理论
TIAN Tian, female, born 1981 in Changsha Hunan, diplomépar le gouvernement DPLG (ENSP Versailles), is the principal landscape architect at Vision City Development & Design, Tianjin, China. Her research focuses on landscape architecture design and theory.
王笛 / 1988 年 / 女 / 湖南长沙人 / 布林莫尔学院城市发展与结构研究学士 / 华盛顿大学( 圣路易斯) 比较文学系 博士候选人 / 研究方向为世界文学、古典讽刺文学
WANG Di, female, born 1988 in Changsha Hunan, is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research focuses on world satirical literature from ancient Rome to early modern China. She also holds a BA in Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College, PA, USA.
摘要：近年来，花园艺术节盛行于世界各地，1992 年成立的肖蒙国际花园艺术节已成为全球花园和园艺创作领域的创意实验室。天津市城市规划设计研究院团队的设计师创作的花园作品“旭日东升”（Levant）获得 2017 年肖蒙评委会颁发的年度设计大奖。作品从女性主题构想出发，用“荒诞”的艺术手法结合材料的新颖组合与搭配，构造出一座极富戏剧感染力的舞台式花园。不同于常规的展览式花园，作品对主题的深层次探讨和“荒诞”演绎激发了观展者的创造力及想象力，邀请观展者与园林互动，一同批判并重新诠释刻板美学印象。肖蒙这一重要文化实践说明花园展应致力于坚持不懈地挖掘并探究花园艺术的当代目标和现实意义，启迪与传播审美价值是参展设计师的终极课题。
Abstract: In recent decades, garden festivals have become a popular platform for displaying garden design in many parts of the world. Since its founding in 1992, the Chaumont International Garden Festival has been a laboratory for contemporary garden and landscape design worldwide. In 2017, “Levant”, designed by Tian Tian and Wang Di, and sponsored by the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute, won the Prize for Design at the Chaumont Festival. Focusing on the topic of women, “Levant” dramatizes and performs the garden by using satirical methods and aesthetics and innovative arrangement of landscape and building materials. Unlike conventional display gardens, “Levant” engages in a multi-layered conversation about the chosen theme and topic. Its satirical performance inspires the creativity and imagination of the viewers. It invites them to interact with the landscape and to criticize and reinterpret “stereotypical” aesthetics and ideas. A few take-aways from the Chaumont Festival experience: 1) The purpose of garden festivals is to discover and explore the meaning of contemporary garden design and practice. 2) To inspire and spread conversation about aesthetics and ideas should be the ultimate goal of garden festival designs.
Key words: international garden festival; garden art; garden show; jasmine; women; satire; Chaumont-sur-Loire; France
肖蒙城堡领地(Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire)位于法国卢瓦尔河谷，一处茂盛的植被和壮丽的城堡建筑群交相辉映的风景带。该地区被联合国教科文组织指定为世界文化遗产。坐落于此的肖蒙城堡有着三重身份：世界建筑遗产、当代艺术中心和国际花园艺术节举办地，使它成为了一个国际知名的创新聚点。每年来自世界各地的设计师把景观、园艺以及多学科交叉式的前沿艺术一起带到肖蒙。颇负盛名的肖蒙国际花园艺术节从 1992 年至今已举办 28 届，创造了 700余个面向未来的绿色空间样板。艺术节以花园为载体，以极其开放的姿态为艺术争论提供舞台，为理想的栖居提供一个实验场地（图 1）。
图1 肖蒙古堡（© 王力）
Figure 1 Château de Chaumont (© Wang Li)
2 2017 年度主题——“花的力量”
2017 年的主题为“花的力量”（Flower Power）。在不同时代、文化的各类艺术文学作品中都充斥着花的意象。大自然的鬼斧神工造就了这个兼具完美形态、无穷多样性和神秘象征意义的物种。花的美、香、鲜艳、脆弱、绽放、败落都有着令人着迷的魅力，既精致柔美又充满力量。
21 世纪的花园艺术将如何看待和评价花中蕴含的令人迷恋、震慑且引人注目又治愈的能量？设计师又如何提炼、利用、延展“花的力量”来对话观展者，创造美学诗意？2017 年入选的 20 个设计作品，用大胆别致且极富当代性的场景呈现出关于花的多维诠释和审美创新。
3 2017 年度设计大奖——“旭日东升”
天津市城市规划设计研究院团队以女性主题花园作品——“旭日东升”成功入选，并在获选实施的 20 个花园作品中获得评委会颁发的年度设计大奖。
指定的花园面积非常有限，只有 260 m2，四周有 2 m～3 m 高的绿篱墙限定视觉边界。因此，空间转换上需尽量丰富、立体：通过在花园前景种植细小、白净的白茉莉和造型简约的绿植，突出材料和空间造型的多元立体，引导观展者充分探索空间和视角变换，达到引人入胜的效果。
Figure 2 CAD Model of“ Levant”
图3 花境局部（© 王力）
Figure 3“ Levant” Detail (© Wang Li)
图4 花境局部（© 王力）
Figure 4“ Levant” Detail (© Wang Li)
入口处的暗室把观展者隔置在主体园林之外，形成一道屏障（图 5）。观展者从暗室中无法看清花园内的秘密。神秘幽深的入口象征着私密的空间，激发好奇和联想。透过暗室的窗洞（图 6、7），可以窥看花园的数个局部。园内的景物被高低不等的留空分隔成形态各异的画面，几处葱翠靓丽，几处含蓄婉约。身处园内的观展者不时出现在这些片段式的场景中，成为农耕舞台的“共创者”。
用镜面铝板组成的帷幕大大加强了花园的表现力和戏剧性，呼应农耕舞台的主题（图 10、11）。镜面制造出各种怪诞的视角效果，变形的云、植物和观展者被镜面糅杂在一起，彰显花园的人造特征，与自然景象形成剧烈反差，凸显荒诞。在花园中央，红色土壤与水渠交错的舞台上有芭蕾舞把杆示意观展者细嗅芬芳、轻抚花朵、迈步水渠间（图 12、13）。水渠的韵律是花园的节奏。凝思的大人和跳跃、嬉戏的孩童是舞台的主角（图 14~17），也是幕后的观众（图 5~7）。
图5 入口暗室（© 王力）
Figure 5 “ Levant” Entrance Room (© Wang Li)
图6 暗室窗洞（© 王力）
Figure 6 Entrance Opening into the Garden (Inside Entrance) (© Wang Li)
图7 暗室窗洞（© 王力）
Figure 8 Entrance Opening (Looking from the Garden Interior) (© Wang Li)
图8 扇形水渠（© 王力）
Figure 8 Water Conduits (© Wang Li)
图9 水渠细节（© 王力）
Figure 9 Water Conduit (Detail) (© Wang Li)
图10 镜面帷幕（© 王力）
Figure 10 Curtain Wall (© Wang Li)
图11 帷幕细节（© 王力）
Figure 11 Curtain Wall (Detail) (© Wang Li)
1 The Setting
Located in the Loire Valley in central France, Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire is a landscape where lush vegetation is interlaced with magnificent castles. The Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Chaumont-sur-Loire has three overlapping identities: a site of historical architecture, a center for contemporary art and a venue for the International Garden Festival, making it an internationally renowned innovation hotspot. Every year, designers from all over the world bring to Chaumont their latest work in landscape and garden design and other forms of contemporary art.
It has been 28 years since the prestigious international garden festival first opened its door in 1992, offering more than 700 green space designs throughout the years. Using “the garden” as its medium, the festival has provided a platform for open-minded aesthetic discourses and a laboratory for creating ideas about future habitat. (figure 1)
2 The 2017 Theme—"Flower Power"
Each year, organizers of the Chaumont International Garden Festival send out an invitation to the world of designers to solicit their response to a novel theme. The contest is devised in a way that resembles an essay competition . Participants are asked to address a thematic question and through their creative interpretations arrive at unique works of garden art. The conceptual challenge inspires designers to engage deeply and reflectively with the new objectives and significance of contemporary garden design; meanwhile it also serves as a narrative guide for the visitors, effectively leading them into a physical and mental space of experimental art.
The 2017 theme was "Flower Power". Historically, artistic and literary works from numerous cultures and time periods are overflowing with the imagery of flower. The splendid workmanship of nature has created this perfect botanical form which manifests in infinite diversity and manifold symbolisms. The beauty, the aroma, the livelihood, the fragility, the blooming and withering of flower has a mesmerizing potency that is delicate and gentle, and also enormously powerful.
How should garden design in the 21st century reflect and appraise the mesmerizing and dangerous power of flower and its simultaneously therapeutic and fatal potency? How would designers distill, utilize and extend the "Flower Power" to communicate their ideas to the visitors and to create new aesthetics for garden designs? The 20 selected designs of the 2017 festival use bold and unique landscape of contemporary aesthetic qualities, showcasing a diverse range of conceptual interpretations of flower and aesthetic innovations.
In the festival ground, the symbiotic relationship between humans and flowers is boldly and humorously represented, inspiring a wide range of sympathetic and critical responses and at the same time inviting sincere criticism and reflection. Garden art is an open concept in Chaumont. The 20 formally and stylistically unique answers bring about a grand gala of flowers. Like the Little Prince searching for his beloved rose, each team strives to use design language to realize their unique understanding of flower and garden design. Designers from different regions and cultures and with unique points of views gathered in the Loire Valley to soak up and celebrate the power of flower.
3 The 2017 Award-Winning Garden —“Levant”
The Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute team, representing the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute, entered the festival with a women themed garden "Levant." It won the Prize for Design from the jury, out of the 20 gardens selected for 2017.
3.1 Concept Overview
In East Asian cultures and aesthetics, flower is often associated with traditional femininity, which carries multiple implications: chastity, youth, modesty, elegance and tenacity. "Levant" tries to break through these rigid and even contradictory implications. It recreates and reimagines the community of women. By critically and sympathetically engages the subject, it puts forward a new understanding of flower and of women.
图12 花园中央红色土壤与水渠交错的舞台（© 王力）
Figure 12 Interwoven Pattern of the Red Soil and Water Conduits (© Wang Li)
图13 水渠的韵律是花园的节奏（© 王力）
Figure 13 Rhythm of the Garden (© Wang Li)
图14 观众成为花园的主角（© 刘琳）
Figure 14 Viewers are the Protagonists of the Garden (© Liu Lin)
图15 观众成为花园的主角（© 刘琳）
Figure 15 Viewers are the Protagonists of the Garden (© Liu Lin)
The call for "equal rights" has become a tired trope in the liberal world. In reality, while the economic gaps are closing in large parts of the world and scientific development is ushering human civilization into new eras; is the social status of women progressing, stagnating or regressing today? Women’s education has taken a qualitative leap forward thanks to the expansion of universal education in the past century, but women’s opportunities in economic and political participation are still far behind those of men. Even sociologists are struggling to explain the complex economic and political phenomena. As designers, we create a garden for women to inspire soul search about these difficult questions (figure 2).
3.2 Design Overview
The designated garden plot is very limited in space, only 260 square meters in total. It is surrounded by two to three meters tall hedge walls that delineate the visual boundaries. Therefore, the spatial and visual transitions should be as rich and varied as possible. We limit the foreground plant variety to simple white jasmine and green bushes, in order to highlight the diversity of building materials and spatial arrangements, to guide tourists to fully explore the garden, to transform their perspective and experience with each step forward.
3.2.1 Material Selection
A great variety of materials can be found in previous Chaumont gardens: plastic, rubber, felt, glass, etc. Some gardens even abandoned the focus on plants entirely, instead embracing inorganic materials. However, we chose the most ordinary plants and common things rooted in collective memory to acknowledge the resurging trends and enduring beauty of garden art.
Jasmine has green leaves, white color, round flowers resembling small pearls, and subtle aroma. The "metamorphosis" of this humble "little thing" in the extensive historical memory intrigued us. Often used to represent China, Jasmine was not originated from China. It came from the region now is India and Pakistan. It was first introduced to the southeastern coast of China by sea, probably during the Han Dynasty, and then spread over all mainland China . It has been appreciated by both the literati and the masses in poems and songs.
In ancient India, jasmine served as the messenger for love. From Buddhist countries to China, it accompanied the tea trade and traveled around the world. From being an ornamental flower to a staple of the tea trade, and further immortalized by poetry passed down through the ages, although jasmine came from the foreign lands it took root in China. Chinese culture endowed it with new meanings. A little diplomat of nature, the fragrance of jasmine, spread from the Orient to the world.
Small, white jasmine flowers are the protagonists of our garden. Speckled fragrance filled the simulated agricultural environment. Jasmine is the desire of women, the romantic embodiment of revolutionary sentiments, and a messenger of nature –jasmine scented tea sends messages from the Orient to the world. The small garden canals merge into a pool at the far end of the garden. The intense floral aromas gradually transition into a cluster of scattered aquatic flowers. The visual focus of the garden flows with the canals, crossing the barriers of flowers, climbing up towards the sky. Here, the restless ambitions and unruly souls return to a contemplative state and start to accumulate the "Flower Power" (figures 3&4).
3.2.2 The Scene
An absurd conversation between a peasant woman and a ballerina is quietly taking place in the small garden, an agricultural scene composed of water, soil, vegetation and sky, the basic elements of nature. Hidden under the thick jasmine bushes there are seven glittering water canals.
The geometrically regular, linear canals arrange the flower beds into the shape of a farm field, outlining the contours of the field and the daily routines of peasant women. Their humiliation, frustration and aspiration ripple through the fields as work chants. An additional visual layer of ballet studio is superimposed on the artificial agricultural landscape. The hardship of monotonous fieldwork is reproduced in the form of rigid rhythms and formulaic dance steps, creating an absurd stage.
图16 观众成为花园的主角（ ©刘琳）
Figure 16 Viewers are the Protagonists of the Garden (© Liu Lin)
图17 观众成为花园的主角（ ©王力）
Figure 17 Viewers are the Protagonists of the Garden (© Wang Li)
3.2.3 Spatial Experience
The shaded entrance separates the viewers from the garden interior and forms a barrier (figure 5), preventing visitors from seeing the secrets of the main courtyard. The mysterious and secluded entrance is a metaphor for women’s private sphere. It insinuates certain associations and provokes strong reactions. Through the openings of the darkroom, one can have a peek into the garden (figures 6&7). The garden interior is divided into different sections by openings of various heights. Some sections open widely to the lush interior and others appear more discreet. Visitors inside the garden flicker in the fragmented scenes and become "cocreators" of the stage.
In the darkroom, hundreds of "braids" made of wig with different thickness and length are hung from the ceiling. The moment the braids are lifted, visitors are exposed directly to the garden interior. The fan-shaped canal group inside the garden stretches the view. The mottled cloud shadow, the hazy mist and the subtle aroma brought by light breezes simultaneously stimulate the senses of the visitors and move them to reflect on the experience. (figures 8&9)
The curtain made of reflective aluminum sheets largely enhances the expressive force and theatricality of the garden, highlighting the central theme – farm as stage (figures 10&11). The reflecting surface creates grotesque visual effects, where distorted clouds, plants and people are blended together, revealing the artificial qualities of the garden. It contrasts sharply with nature and thus highlighting the absurdity of the scene. In the middle of the garden, a stage crisscrossed with strips of red soil and canals, stands a ballet barre. It suggests the visitors to bend down and sniff the flowers, stroke the petals and stroll across the canals (figure 12&13). The rhythm of the canal conditions the pace of the garden. The contemplating adults and playing children are the protagonists of the stage (figures 14~17), as well as audience behind the scenes (figures 5~7).
Waterlilies, lotus and reeds rise at the far end of the garden, guiding the visitors’ gaze towards the sky. This visual treatment of the boundaries makes people forget the closed nature of this standardized site. From the speckled jasmine bushes in the foreground to the swaying aquatic plants in the back, this small square garden is our little experiment that explores certain rules of cohabitation in the world of humanity and nature.
Nowadays when garden festival is in vogue, there are also many dissenting voices criticizing its method. They consider the short-term display garden a heresy and a waste . A garden deprived of the dimension of time only deserves to be called a “display garden." We should take this point seriously, especially in recent years when the display garden industry seems to prosper. There are many hidden concerns. For example, the popular theme gardens often recycle tired expressions. They are often enormous in scale and generally lack the desire for innovation and artistic qualities. They invest heavily in construction but neglect aspects of operation and management. After the shows are over, the space generally remains underutilized. The Chaumont Garden Festival is successful because it helps promoting French cultural heritage and revives the cause of historic preservation. Its success story can shed some light on the display garden industry. First of all, Chaumont’s forward-looking subject matters, its advocacy on low energy consumption construction methods  and its persistent innovation constitute Chaumont’s core competencies. Secondly, the extremely open mindset of the organizers looking to the world and respecting expertise of all kinds provides a space for designers to make bold statements and encourages genuine communication. Chaumont attracts the best designers from around the world.
Furthermore, Chaumont’s standing management team provides rigorous and unbiased professional supervision and guidance, as well as efficient construction support in order to ensure the quality of construction, and therefore Chaumont’s vanguard status and influence in the art world. In the long run, the festival activities expand into related artistic and social spheres, in forms of long-term commitment to horticultural education, literature publication and other art events. As Chaumont continues to expand its influence, to develop its content and outreach, it is becoming an inexhaustible force for the garden show industry.
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（整理： 赵迪 译：毛莹）