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Rus in Urbe

Rus in Urbe was exhibited at the Gardens of Versailles in 2021, thanks to the National School of Landscape Architecture. The exhibition was an opportunity to showcase our long-term research into food production, foraging and waste in the contemporary city.

In nature, camouflage is defined as the natural colouring or form of an animal that enables it to blend in with its surroundings. In the urban environments, people decided
that in order for unsightly man-made structures to blend its best if they stand out. In order to look ‘natural’ and fit in we use artificial images of nature to cover any aspects of the city, be it a construction site, a bin enclosure, a railing in front of a pub.

By recreating natural-looking landscapes in places where these would never occur people attempt to create a new constructed impression, an image, an idea of a natural
environment. Our distant memories of the countryside are being diluted, digested, and spit out in a form of a green collage, where trees, shrubs, and grasses are choreographed in an effortless manner, where evergreen lushness and homogeneous textures are never fading.

Hungry City is an ongoing colourful series depicting the surplus, waste, and decay of fruits on the streets of London. Its parks, commons, gardens and streets are surprisingly full of edible fruits. Most people fail to notice this abundance and forget to look up into the canopies of the trees surrounding our neighbourhoods. Only when ripe fruits fall onto the ground do we pay attention. Often at the point of decay, we realise a missed opportunity. Would we remember to come back next season and turn the abundant harvest into tasty treats or preserves?

“If food waste was a country, it’d be the third-biggest contributor of CO2 after China and USA. 70% of the food that is wasted in the UK is wasted by citizens in their own homes. 81% of citizens are concerned about climate change, However, only 37% realise the connection with wasting food.” The surplus has to be recognised, redistributed, and utilised. Everyone enjoys a sweet fruit, so why don’t we enjoy the ones that already grow locally, often free and sometimes literally on our doorsteps?
Rocks, stone, and gravel have been integral to the design of our gardens for centuries. From a simple path to a meticulously crafted Japanese garden people have been fascinated with the practical and aesthetic qualities of this versatile natural material. Today in our cities a new type of Rock Garden is emerging, a Garden of Displacement, which is the latest fashion. Metropolitan Rock Gardens of boulders and pebbles are assembled to separate and restrict the movement, define zones and prevent plants or people from occupying a space.

︎︎︎  Plan des Potager du Roi,  de la Quintinie, 1716

︎︎︎ Exhibition layout featuring 42 artworks across the walled garden

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