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Review: The Contemporary Garden
http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/629/1/Review-The-Contemporary-Garden/Page1.html
Allan Becker

Reviewer Allan Becker: Allan has been designing and planting flower gardens, since he was a teenager in the 1960's. Now retired from the soft goods industry, where he held several positions in design, product development, and marketing, he has turned his passion for gardening into a second career, as a garden designer for private clients in Montreal, Canada.


In spring and summer, he provides his assistants, most college students, who transform his designs into flower gardens. In winter, he reviews books on garden-related topics for Bookpleasures.com and writes a Gardening Blog.

Allan earned a B.A. from McGill University, followed by two years of studies in design at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia). He lives in the Montreal suburb of Cote St. Luc, Quebec with his wife and travels regularly to Toronto and Boston to visit his children and grandchildren.




 
By Allan Becker
Published on May 6, 2009
 

Author: The Editors of Phaidon Press
ISBN: 9780714849584


The editors of Phaidon Press continue to impress me. They make rigorous work seem easy. In their latest publication The Contemporary Garden, they tackle an encyclopedic amount of material [as they did with The English Garden] and distill it into an easy-to-read picture essay. In this instance the essay is about the evolution of the contemporary garden from the early 1920’s up until today.




Author: The Editors of Phaidon Press
ISBN: 9780714849584

Click Here To Purchase The Contemporary Garden

The editors of Phaidon Press continue to impress me. They make rigorous work seem easy. In their latest publication The Contemporary Garden, they tackle an encyclopedic amount of material [as they did with The English Garden] and distill it into an easy-to-read picture essay. In this instance the essay is about the evolution of the contemporary garden from the early 1920’s up until today.

As some readers have discovered, a garden does not always refer to a front or back lawn with beautiful flowers. Often, it is a substantial expanse of land surrounding either a residential dwelling or a public building. The type of landscape treatment used for these spaces usually reflects the aesthetic philosophy of the artist, architect or landscape architect responsible for designing it. That style may reflect trends in modernity. From that perspective, this book offers an historical summary of the modern movement in arts, sculpture and architecture as interpreted in landscape design.

The book covers many of the seminal contemporary gardens, including ones by sculptor Constantin Brancusi, landscape architect Shunmyo Masuno, architect Frank Gherry and garden designer Piet Oudolf. Among the one hundred gardens presented in this book, two stand out for this reviewer. The first is the waterfall grotto located beneath the Frank Lloyd Wright home “Falling Waters” in Pennsylvania, USA. Mr. Wright chose to leave nature untouched by positioning that home directly over a waterfall. The second is the outdoor installation designed by landscape architect Claude Cormier titled “Blue Stick Garden”. Originally created in Canada for the Metis International Garden festival, it moved to Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset U.K. where it gained additional fame for its audacity and vibrancy.

This is a provocative book for perennial gardeners. By our nature, we tend to be traditional in our outlook. Consequently, an ultra modern garden is not always a pleasant place for us. This book reminds us that without modernity and modern building materials, contemporary artists could not be true to their times. While the modernity of some gardens may leave us wanting, at least we now can appreciate the context in which they were created. This has been an exhilarating book to read and even more exciting to review.


Click Here To Purchase The Contemporary Garden