Jury-GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN /
Published on April 19, 2021
Knowlton School, Ohio State University
Colombus, Ohio, United States
PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE – PEOPLE OF DESIGN VERSION!
What prescient youthful memory relates to your present career?
The Asphalt Garden launched my sustained interest in asphalt landscapes. This project was conceived with Michelle Adrian under the name SE BUSCA/ WANTED, a moniker given to us by Venezuelans when we were working in Caracas. The Asphalt Garden was a winning entry of the Métis International Garden Festival competition. With a kind of innocent pleasure we proposed a ‘street gone mad’ to highlight the under-appreciation of the significant role asphalt plays in our daily lives.
Asphalt Garden, Métis International Garden Festival.
Finalist international competition, Québec, 2003.
Photo credit: Jean-Claude Hurni. Design team: Michele Adrian, Paula Meijerink for WANTED/SE BUSCA
Michelle is and architect but also a photographer and often photographs the city reflected in street puddles, so we developed a kind of inhabitable fountain – an oversized street puddle that would reflect the forest surrounding the garden, but one you could walk through and hang out in.
While an appreciation for asphalt as an outstanding performer continues in my work, I developed a critical attitude towards the ceaseless application of impervious surfaces that characterizes all our cities – be it buildings, sidewalks, streets or parking lots. I find it unethical to continue this practice at a time of great social unrest and climate change concerns.
Any music playing while you work?
I lately discovered and started to enjoy listening to rocker cellist Zoë Keating.
What living designer/architect do you most admire?
I have great admiration for Suzanne Sauvage; she is a role model for me. As president and CEO of the McCord Museum, she has worked incessantly to make the museum an active and critical voice in the discussion on the future of Montreal and to promote Canadian and Quebec history. She therefore connects history with the future and promotes change. As a kind of Renaissance woman, she connects knowledge and art; she is informed, critical and has a beautiful sense of design.
What past designer/architect inspires you the most?
I find it more effective to answer this question with living people. Since the start of the COVID, I am following a lot of artists and find their work inspiring: Mexican artist Bosco Sodi, Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto, Romanian artist Szilard Gaspar, and South African artist Ledelle Moe, political artists like Doris Salcedo, Bisa Butler, and Lorna Simpson, and artists working with landscape: Katharina Grosse, Charles Gaines, Han Cao, Justin Favela, and Anne Lindberg. I am in particular enjoying the painting process of Damien Hirst’s large scale multi-panel cherry blossoms.
Which project is the epitome of your work?
Right now, the Forêt urbaine/Urban Forest for the McCord Museum is an important project for me. It celebrated its tenth anniversary this summer and is the longest standing ephemeral project in Montreal.
In the midst of the pandemic, when the city was in lockdown, Mme Sauvage decided that opening the Urban Forest was a priority, and that the team should move forward in making that happen, even before the museum would reopen. She considered this transformed public space a positive sign and a gift to the people of Montreal.
Forêt urbaine/Urban Forest 2020, Montréal, Qc, Canada
Photo credit :Marilyn Aitken
Client: McCord Museum with the City of Montreal
Design: WANTED landscape llc, collaboration with Melinda Hart
This project makes an argument against the car as the dominant and continued force of all urban organization, and the reorganization of road spaces into spaces of greater democratization and filled with trees.
What always inspires you?
Landscape continues to inspire me. The kind of innocent pleasure of working with asphalt as a material has transformed into a broader social environmental agenda. As I get older, I view landscape architecture more and more from a political position, and it is important to me that I work with climate change and disadvantaged communities; my work at the university allows me to do that.
Scarlet Jungles on Waterman,
2019 Columbus, OH, USA
Photo credit: Phil Arnold
Designed experimental forest as riparian buffer along Waterman’s South Creek
Trees are an incredibly powerful medium with which to achieve positive change and I am working on urban impervious surfaces and mitigating tree canopy cover across urban areas, especially as it pertains to disadvantaged communities. We are working on the experimental forest Scarlet Jungles, and will be working with the South Side community in Columbus this spring.
Asphalt Dragon, New York, USA, 2010. Photo credit: Anita Kan.
Winner New York Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program.
Design: Paula Meijerink and Kris Lucius.
If a spell were to transform you into an object, by all means, what would you like to be, and why?
I wish to morph into a mythological figure like a unicorn or a phoenix; my life is too short to achieve all I wish to achieve, and all eternity is therefore a promising prospect to me.
What is your favorite place in the world?
Bolivian high desert
Glimcher Exhibition, 2016, Columbus, Oh, USA
Photo credit: Phil Arnold
Title of exhibition: Aggregation.
Glimcher exhibition with João Nunes