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Case study

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” - Henri Matisse

Chaumont-sur-Loire, France
Play and leisure, Parks

Festival des Jardins

The Tête à Tête garden encourages new ways of seeing, with tête à tête translating literally to 'head to head', visitors are invited to indulge in an alternate view and appreciate flowers through physical immersion.  By forgoing the routine way of viewing a garden, the tête à tête encounter allows the power of flowers to renew the body, senses and mind. A confrontation with a mass of flowers, means seeing is unavoidable. Tuning into the moment, a heightened awareness of the colours, scents and rhythms of sound has the absorbing capacity to consolidate or enhance thoughts.


Flower Power

Flower Power is the theme for the 26th Edition of the Festival des Jardins at Domaine Chaumont-sur-Loire. HarrisonStevens were proud to represent Great Britain amongst teams from France, Italy, China and Korea. The festival consists of 24 show gardens whereby contemporary imagination is encouraged to explore new ways of seeing, experiencing and creating gardens. 'Chaumont-sur-Loire's secret is untiring invention and reinvention.' The ethos of the festival is very much that gardens are 'living artworks'.

Flowers in Bloom @SoazigPressPhotos

A Sensory Rich Experience

The design is twofold and offers visitors an individual or social sensory rich experience. Subtle mosses, ferns and pockets of delicate flowers are woodland like and replicate successive growth. In stark contrast, the central piece is becoming like a botanical painting; a mass of flowers each with their individual qualities that overpower, fight for attention, and are all encompassing

Opening day at the International Garden Festival

Extending an Invitation

Visitors are invited to gain low-level panoramic perspectives, whereby the depth of field and palette evolve throughout the garden and changing seasons. This view elevates the status of flowers, while also elevating an appreciation for form, texture, colour, individualism and existence and through interaction and an alternative way of viewing. Clean horizontal and vertical lines cut through the mass planting. Raised planters at average human head height and body mass are encountered at eye level, allowing the visitor to reflect, rethink and recharge - restructuring ideas of natural order.

Visitors enjoying the Garden

HarrisonStevens Get Their Hands Dirty

Tête à Tête provided a unique opportunity for the HarrisonStevens team to physically construct the garden thereby fully appreciating project delivery from initial wacky ideas to planting the last Kniphofia. Along the way we visited steel fabricators, French nurseries and kind sponsors Blueton Ltd, and made really great friends with a local trade store. The experience was an exercise in broadening our plant knowledge and the opportunity to handle the plants was a real treat. The festival is open until November and we look forward to seeing how Tête à Tête has grown; particularly in October, when the whole HarrisonStevens team will visit the Garden. 

HarrisonStevens team planting the Garden
HarrisonStevens Team, happy workers