Jardins de Métis east elevation

The garden is a temporary, experimental proposal for the International Garden Festival at Les Jardins de Métis in Grand-Metis, Quebec. Building upon Josef Albers’ seminal primer on color theory, Interaction of Color, the proposal seeks to establish a new framework to experience color perception and sensation in a larger field.

The garden measures 10m x 20m and is surrounded by an open perimeter fence. Within, a series of open fences further organize the plan into eight equal bands, each measuring 2.5m x 10m. Countering the geometric rigor, breaks in the fences filter visitors through the garden, loosely define larger spaces, and provide entry points on the east and west sides along the main pathways. Continuous beds of thyme are planted along the organizing bands and are crossed over by visitors.

The fences are made of painted wood and are characterized by fine slats oriented at 45 degrees and -45 degrees, alternating orientation at each layer. Recalling the common wooden lattice, these diagonals establish a decidedly supergraphic element in the project. The artificial tectonic expression serves to abstract the modest methods of construction and to articulate a complex set of color effects through minimal means.

A range of reds were selected for high contrast with the greens of the surrounding forest and garden plantings, underscoring the contrast between natural forms and the graphic tectonic. The perimeter fence is a pure red. Other fences are of varying red hues, some of which are tinted (white added), others toned (black added). Since colors of equal brightness but differing in hue tend to assume the same spatial plane, the three dimensional organization of the garden is at times challenged and introduces an element of spatial ambiguity.

The interaction of the painted slats was understood not only as a dynamic condition in and of itself, but was also interested in the larger interaction with colors in nature which remain in a constant state of flux over the course of the day and seasons of the year. By interspersing small areas of color through the slats the project highlights the relativity of color and serves as a playful animation of the Bezold Effect─ that a color may appear different depending on its relation to adjacent colors. In short, the garden is an invitation to see and celebration of interaction on multiple fronts.

Jardins de Métis axonometric

Location: Grand-Métis, Quebec, Canada
Project: 2014
In collaboration with: Esther Hagenlocher
Program: experimental garden
Area: 200 sq m