Bergamo goes green for the eighth year running from 6th to 23rd September with the Masters of Landscape festival, an extensive, open-air event devoted to landscape architecture and undoubtedly one of the most important and exciting events in Europe. The aim of the event – which harnesses nature, beauty and design – is to promote intelligent green design and a shared awareness of the environment and sustainability, with a focus on mobility, the functionality of spaces, smart city and wellbeing. There is a packed programme of conferences, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, displays, competitions, tastings and other events around the city.
The theme of the 2018 edition is Plant Landscape, which leverages the concept of the coming together of nature and human beings, straddling tradition and innovation, picking up the vocabulary of the landscape in its own “words,” the plants. The billions of plants on the planet today have a fundamental role to play in improving microclimatic conditions and combating pollution, land consolidation and watercourse channelling. Uprooted from their natural environment and bidden to become the natural raw material for creating gardens, parks, large or small-scale urban landscapes, they frequently fail to embrace the role they play in nature. To help them become the protagonists of their new habitat, knowledgeable, fundamental action has to be taken: a plan.
This year’s festival has two epicentres: the Green Square, a poetic reinterpretation and transformation of Piazza Vecchia into a garden, and the International Meeting of the Landscape and Garden at Bergamo’s Teatro Sociale, two days of meetings, stories and discussions featuring leading figures on the international landscaping scene. One of this year’s subjects is the relationship between the landscape and the built environment, a constantly evolving topic debated by leading plant designers along with two internationally renowned architects, Bjarke Ingels of BIG (Denmark) and Katrina Knauf of MVRDV (Netherlands). The other protagonists are Piet Oudolf with Thomas Rainer and Nigel Dunnett (Netherlands), Filippo Pizzoni (Italy), Atelier Le Balto (Germany), Louis Benech (France), Sandra Piesik (UK), Sarah Eberle (UK) who set out their design philosophy in a new format, with alternating lectures, talks and video clips.
The nucleus of the event is undoubtedly the green metamorphosis of Piazza Vecchia, designed by the famous Dutch plant designer Piet Oudolf, a leading exponent of the New Perennial movement and a key figure in projects such as the High Line in New York and the Millennium Park in Chicago. Oudolf has poured all his art and experience into what Le Corbusier described as “the most beautiful square in the world,” creating a plant composition that dialogues with the ancient heart of Bergamo Alta. Rather than emulating the landscape, the garden designer has captured its atmosphere, echoing archetypal visual manifestations: soft undulations, “stripes” of different species, colonies, serried groups of plants like brushstrokes on canvas, “neutral” herbaceous backdrops studded with darker plants, contrasting verticals and curves that create the sense of a landscape in which history, architecture and nature have been teaming up for centuries.
The Masters of Landscape
6 - 23 September 2018