Elegance, art and Italy
I was lucky enough to have grown up in the picturesque landscape of Tuscany. The theatrical effect of the planting in the landscape and the raw connection to the land that I experienced was naturally very influential, and as a young man I enjoyed learning about the horticulture.
Tuscany also has many beautiful gardens, and I visited many seeking knowledge and inspiration. The Renaissance gardens at the Villa Gamberaia were particularly influential to me, and I was introduced to the classical combination of opulence and restraint by the gardens and the gardener there.
My work still draws heavily on the influences of my Italian heritage but for me, creating and designing gardens has become progressively a process of discovery with many other factors inspiring me profoundly.
I am influenced by nature, materials, light and space to articulate my ideas and create an atmosphere. I would say that my gardens are clean, elegant, timeless and understated, but they are all also designed to be enjoyed so I am strongly influenced by how the owner lives; I pay close attention to the atmosphere of their home and the way they choose to relax and entertain.
This can often reveal how they feel most comfortable in a space and help me to design their garden with greater sensitivity.
In terms of plants, I always enjoy using plants with strong shapes and forms to create structured and delineated spaces in my gardens whether they are for entertaining or relaxing. This year for the Laurent-Perrier garden I have included tall and elegant Persian ironwoods (Parrotia persica) throughout the garden and the rounded forms of Pinus mugo at the rear of the garden.
Art is a key part of the theme of my garden for Laurent-Perrier this year, ‘Nature and Human Intervention’. The garden is a composition representing nature and the human intervention involved; the garden design, architecture and art.
Peter Randall-Page (Photo: Steven Wooster)
I decided to work with British sculptor Peter Randall-Page and Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Peter has created three sculptures, which he has titled ‘Stones for Evening Light’, inspired by the fall of light on the textured surface of the stones. Kengo has designed a pavilion made of bamboo panels, which rotate gently as they are blown by the wind. The interaction of nature with our finished work is vital to all three of us and I find the opportunity to reflect and work with other designers, artists and industry experts invaluable.
The qualities I seek in all my compositions and designs are to create a natural space of calm and an engaging atmosphere. The final result needs to look effortless and relaxing.
In terms of my garden for Chelsea Flower Show, this garden is inspired by the Laurent-Perrier’s tradition of handcrafting from nature and each element of the garden shares this philosophy. For all of us involved it is not just about creating a garden, but about making a comment on life, the qualities that are important and the way we live.
Acclaimed Italian garden designer Luciano Giubbilei trained in London and is known for his clean lines and minimalist style. This is his second Chelsea garden: his first, in 2009, won a gold medal.