Airport, please! LRFA heads to Oudolf Field at Hauser & Wirth Somerset
‘For me, garden design isn’t just about plants, it is about emotion, atmosphere, a sense of contemplation. You try to move people with what you do. You look at this, and it goes deeper than what you see. It reminds you of something in the genes — nature, or the longing for nature.’ s—Piet Oudolf –
Five acclaimed artist-makers have originated new multidisciplinary works in response to Oudolf Field, a 1.5-acre perennial meadow designed by Piet Oudolf at Hauser & Wirth Somerset. During a time of claustrophic social distancing and staying at home, visions of Somerset danced in our heads The fresh air to breathe, the green rolling hills, and now the LRFA blog is thrilled to have an opportunity to visit the extraordinary space created and developed by Hauser and Wirth in Somerset, England.
A living canvas, the garden passes from the vigour of the growing season to the poignancy of decay. In summer Oudolf Field embraces movement and energy, each plant, grass and flowerhead alive with their own gravity and tension. In winter texture and tone form abstract compositions. The works presented evoke the immersive experience of the garden, drawing upon Oudolf’s philosophy that rather than copying nature, the intention is to create a feeling, deepening our connection with its seasons and cycles. ‘Wilder than Wildness itself’ explores the duality of the ephemeral and the permanent. Deeply personal works in resin, glass, textile and clay reflect a unique visual aesthetic, the progression of time, the passage of life and perceptions of beauty.
Oudolf is a leading figure in the New Perennial movement; his projects are characterized by a strong pictorial relationship to a garden’s composition and layout. Inspired by art, nature and time, Oudolf’s gardens are achieved through areas of naturalistic planting, using swathes of perennials and grasses combined with structured pathways, shrubs and trees.
An internationally-renowned landscape designer, Oudolf was born in 1944 in Haarlem, Netherlands. Since 1982, he has lived and worked in Hummelo, a tiny village in east Netherlands, where he started a nursery with his wife Anja, to grow perennials. His garden has since become renowned for its radical approach and ideas about planting design. Oudolf has received many high profile commissions around the world, including for The High Line, New York, in a collaboration with landscape architect James Corner, and ‘Hortus Conclusus’ with Peter Zumthor at Serpentine Gallery, London.
HAUSER & WIRTH, SOMERSET
On-site restaurant, Roth Bar & Grill, serves seasonal, locally sourced produce, and is replete with works of art including a site-specific bar created by Björn and Oddur Roth, the son and grandson of artist Dieter Roth.
The centre is located on the outskirts of Bruton, on Durslade Farm, which is a working free-range farm, providing produce for Roth Bar & Grill. The gallery opened in 2014 – prior to this the buildings had remained derelict for several decades, until they were sensitively restored and new buildings added by Paris based architectural firm Laplace. Durslade Farmhouse, the original six-bedroom farmhouse, also renovated by Laplace, is available to rent for short stays.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset has been awarded a RIBA South West Award 2015, a Civic Trust 2015 Award, and in 2014 it was the winner of the William Stansell Historic Buildings Award, for Durslade Farmhouse. In 2015 it ran its own competition for young architects, titled The Shed Project.