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Great Silver Medal from the Academy of Architecture for all of his work, Régis Guignard is the landscape designer of the greatest French architects and urban planners. "Archi-Paysagiste - 30 projets", the first work devoted to his work, is an opportunity to meet this exceptional landscaper.
How did you become a landscaper?
In two words, I would say that it is because of a certain geographic rapprochement and an element of chance. In fact, I studied architecture at Versailles and it turns out that the school of landscape is a stone's throw away. I met comrades at the university restaurant, and I went to see what they were doing, out of curiosity. Then, I did my service in cooperation in Rabat in Morocco with the municipal library as a project where I wanted the outside to be a reading room. Back in France, I studied landscape while continuing my architectural studies. Then I won contests which oriented me on the landscape more than on architecture.
How do you work with the architects of the premises?
Being an architect, I find myself having a facility to enter into a project. My work as a landscaper is then to show the architect the interest of the landscape which I understand as open-air architecture. For my work with architects, I take into account the environment and I work to create a connection with architecture, to make spatial links to optimize social ties. I reveal the locality, in a specific place and with a particular client to give consistency.
How should individuals create their garden from their house?
You don't have to create your garden from a house, it's a bad relationship. We live on an entire plot, not just a pavilion! And the garden is in fact a living room of greenery with the sky as a roof. This is why the garden and the house must be thought of as a whole. The ready to live ruins the relationship between the house and the garden because we are stuck in a planning regulation.
You talk about landscape more than garden, what do you mean by that?
Compared to the garden, the landscape also has a depth of field that borders on the horizon. In fact, it is more the scale of a park where there are garden fragments. But the landscape is much less a question of nature than of culture and therefore of perception. And more than 80% of us perceive nature with our urban eyes. Personally, I do not differentiate between the Mercantour Natural Park and the Place Vendôme in Paris. The city is simply a constructed landscape, undoubtedly the most successful phase of the landscape. The landscape is the public space that belongs to everyone, it's free and open 24 hours a day.
How do you choose a landscape theme?
To tell a story in my projects, I listen and I feel until a potential begins to emerge. Then my job is to formalize this story. I don't know how to work from a blank sheet! I need to hold on to something and I turn constraints into strengths. In fact, you have to go get the theme! For the Croix-Rousse hospital in Lyon, for example, I dressed the esplanade of a garden of medicinal plants. I had the idea of showing the population of the hostile environment that is the hospital that plants are not only there for decoration but are also allies thanks to their active ingredients. So I grouped the plants in beds by active ingredients by explaining why we use it in pharmacies. At the Museum of Romanity in Nîmes, I created an archaeological garden with three distinct strata which successively evoke the eras, medieval, Roman and Gallic with the plants introduced in each of these eras. We go down there as in the depth of history and it is of course the place and the program that gave me the idea. To read: “ARCHI-LANDSCAPER / MONOGRAPHY - 30 PROJECTS" (PC Editions)