Images from Architectural Digest of the design studio of the Spanish landscape architect who resolutely insists on being called a gardener. As with stripping down occupations to their mythic essence, Caruncho does the same for gardens, revealing anew the power of simple, age-old forms. Timeless essentials from a former philosophy student who discovered the garden is the perfect venue for investigating dialectics of nature and spirit. A seamless fusion of Moorish, French, Spanish influences, always the geometric elevated and emphasized over color. The design studio is made of primal building blocks of box, jasmine, fig, pomegranate, bay laurel, lime, gravel, water. Not as much a signature style as a deeply assimilated understanding of previous civilizations’ response to living in the light, heat, seasonal drought of the Mediterranean Basin. So important is the play of light in Caruncho’s work that he considers his gardens a “light box.” Celebrated for work including a wheat-filled parterre, Caruncho’s design studio has a neo-Medieval air. A contemplative compound for the philosophizing gardener.
“The floors are the gravel, the ceiling is the sky, and the walls are the clipped laurel and boxwood that follow the curves.”
Photography by Simon Watson
Stunning images of a mostly-bones garden. I can see the splashes of color on the pomegranate, or maybe a few other plants, but mostly something solid and unchanging over the year takes some sophistication to design or even appreciate. The semi-circle hedges and the fountain work well…post to be filed!
I’ve been thinking a lot about redoing everything as a minimal garden, in response to the drought. Thank goodness I don’t have the design talent–“gardening” would consist mostly of raking the gravel, wouldn’t it?
@David, the linked article talks about the shape the site was in when he acquired it, just a rough field. It’s a good read.
@Hoov, someone rakes the gravel everyday for him! His work for clients does involve more plants, but for his design studio, he says he needs a void in which to create.
I do wonder if a super minimalist garden would be satisfying over time. For how long would I enjoy contemplating the shape of a hedge or a certain cast shadow? Although I’m sure there is seasonal change–of light (for sure) or, maybe, of some plants dropping their leaves–I think I’d begin to take it all for granted and then it would become boring. Then again, I wonder if this opinion represents a lack of sophistication on my part…
Emily, I’ve only seen a little of Caruncho’s work in books and magazines, but from what little I’ve seen he’s designed the perfect laboratory for himself. If I had two houses, I might want something along these lines, especially if one of them was far from water mains. But for a city garden, I’d never willingly choose minimalism. City distractions and stresses need lots of plants!