Winner of the 2022 LILA Honour Award:
Gilles Clément 

Recognition: Winner of the 2022 LILA Honour Award


Gilles Clément (1943) is a French landscape architect or better ‘paysagiste’, having a more garden design-related background. He is also a botanist, entomologist, and writer. His most important achievements are both in theory and practice. Through his work, Clément shows many paths to a more biodiverse future as he focuses on what truly matters to the well-being of all species. His approach is about effortlessness, working with natural forces and always celebrating diversity. It is a treasure of knowledge and a showcase of attitudes fit for the future, hence of great importance to our global professional community.

See all LILA recognitions 2016 -

Gilles Clément (1943) is a French landscape architect with a more garden design-related background. He is also a botanist, entomologist, writer and garden designer. His most important achievements are in both theory and practice. Clément wrote a number of texts summing up his professional musings and personal beliefs. Garden in Motion focuses on working with natural processes in the landscape. How to accept and embrace the natural succession of a garden, how to work with natural processes, rather than against them. Planetary Garden is essentially an ode to (bio)diversity in light of globalization. It deals with complexities that contribute to it or work against it while calling for comprehensive holistic, integrated design attitudes. Third Landscape addresses the ecological importance of small, yet essential left-over, untamed or abandoned spaces. It proposes a radical statement that projects should include ‘free’ spaces, where biodiversity is able to evolve on its own, in its own time.

This statement is beautifully manifested in the Matisse Park, where an area of 3000 m2 (37600sq feet) is lifted up 7m and accessible solely to animals, plant seeds, sun and water.

Henri Matisse Park, Lille, France, photo by Gilles Clément

Another of his works that deal with left-over spaces is Tiers Paysage Jardin (Third Landscape Garden) in Saint-Nazaire. Some plants were planted, and some came with birds or winds. A thin layer of soil was laid to invite seeds.

Tiers Paysage Jardin, Saint Nazaire

Parc André Citroën is probably one of the most famous projects, that was done by several landscape architects, including Clément and the project leader Alain Provost. Due to the decision of the Park Citroen Competition jury, two proposals were joined into a third project.

The Garden in Motion, Parc André Citroën Paris

Across the world, we can still find landscape architecture projects that are guided by form and often dominated by materials. Also under the banner of ‘biodiversity’ and ‘paradigm shift’ we can find elaborate, yet out-of-place planting schemes that need plenty of maintenance. 

To avoid these issues, Clément shows many paths to a more biodiverse future as he focuses on what truly matters to the well-being of all species. His approach is about effortlessness, working with natural forces and always celebrating diversity. It is a treasure of knowledge and a showcase of attitudes fit for the future, hence of great importance to our global professional community.

*We look forward to focusing on and celebrating his work more in-depth after the summer. Stay tuned!

 

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