Sublime and ethereal, this is not a case of a house being constructed to harmonize with nature. It is more about a garden being meticulously and imaginatively planned to suit the built environment which surrounds it. Obviously the plants are natural organic entities but that’s as far as the word ‘natural’ can be applied to this ambitious planting scheme. This is a garden that is seriously formalized, organized and controlled. The trees, shrubs and plants have been moulded and ordered to create an awe inspiring breath of fresh air amongst the complex of palatial architectural constructions.
Garden exterior design by Ando Studio
The garden and villa appear marvelously fused together, initially through the inspirational design and later by a disciplined maintenance regime. The project is realizes by Tadao Ando and the main influence is, as the designer says, Japanese. This is evident in the formality and stylisation of the planting and the plant species themselves. The inclusion of the elements of air, earth and water are all inspired by the Japanese ‘Zen’ garden.
Landscaping by Ando Studio
Despite the formality in the planting and aftercare, this is a truly exciting environment full of wondrous shapes, textures, patterns and dynamic contrasts. The trees (although pruned) are allowed to grow in wierd and wonderful twists and turns. In contrast the smaller areas of topiary have been trimmed into spherical forms and these are arranged in clusters against the foundations of the building. Creeping plants are working there way up walls and softening the appearance of hard angular architecture, but only so much. None of the planting is allowed to become over invasive or threaten the visual harmony that exists between architectural and organic forms. As it is the natural forms contrast and fully complement the clean rectilinear elements of the architecture.
Courtyard garden area exterior
There is also another underlying atmosphere in this space, something that suggests ancient Roman villas or palaces. Maybe it is because the Roman villa would have typically included an enclosed courtyard garden area. Or possibly it is in such details as the glamorous styling of the sculptural recliners by the pool area. These evoke visions of godlike beings in flimsy robes taking their ease in this perfect setting. This contemporary garden is somewhat ‘other worldly’ in its perfection. The flawless white of the masonry, the fresh green of the planting the delicate untainted blossoms all combine to create a modern paradise.
Zen garden modern paradise
Regardless of the significant man-made element this garden is luscious, fertile and alive. The daylight filtering through the splendid foliage cast a fresh invigorating tint of green over the entire area along with patches of cooling dappled shade. This space has been created for people desiring to live beyond the confines of an average everyday existence. Who could fail to feel superhuman in this environment?
Text by Jaz