September 26, 2022

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The ‘Garden of Illusion’ is a nod to Taoist philosophy

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Liu Xiangcheng, a Chinese architect, states that an great back garden represents an idyllic way of daily life, a absolutely free spirit and the idea that folks should be a purely natural element of mother nature.

Liu and his colleagues developed the “Backyard of Illusion” at the Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire in France as a nod to the mountains and rivers that figured prominently in ancient Chinese philosophy.

Out of the 24 gardens that the Chaumont-sur-Loire Worldwide Yard Pageant selected for this 12 months, this is the only one particular that was designed by a Chinese group.

The pageant is held per year in the gardens of the castles in the Loire Valley amongst April and November. The theme for this year’s celebration of its 30th anniversary is “great backyard garden.”

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

The “Yard of Illusion” at the Chaumont-sur-Loire Worldwide Yard Competition

Ethnic kitsch

The Tongji College postgraduate avoided “ethnic kitsch” by going past “particular cultural indicators” as opposed to replicating a typical Chinese backyard garden.

3 concentric circles may be located in the “Back garden of Illusion” – the outer circular alleyway, the bamboo cluster in the middle and a Zen retreat encircled by bamboos in the heart.

According to Liu, the two Japanese and Western cultures routinely use the circle image.

He reported that in Taoist philosophy, the circle, which has no starting or conclusion, stands in for the cosmos, nature, eternity, and harmony. Western civilization associates perfection with the circle.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

Architect and urban planner Liu Xiangcheng

The architect takes advantage of concentric circles to illustrate how two civilizations may well dwell peacefully in a solitary back garden and to existing “an perfect notion of Oriental philosophy in a Western context.”

Liu utilised simplicity to include this piece with a dozen primary methods of classic Chinese back garden design and style.

For instance, when going by means of a yard, the surroundings differ as you go. The visitation route is meticulously prepared, winding all the way to a non-public meditation region that is concealed by bamboos.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

Layers of surroundings in the back garden

Impressed by an iconic sequence of ink-clean paintings titled “8 Scenes of Xiaoxiang,” Liu designed the conclusion to depict mountains and rivers in a Zen-motivated fashion.

A single of the characteristics is the open-function round picket construction that lies on the interior of the alleyway. A see-through curtain-like installation of 240 hemp ropes is strung on the composition.

The staff was capable to replicate the rolling mountains as depicted in “8 Scenes of Xiaoxiang” on the curtain of ropes by building reef knots at a variety of heights on just about every rope.

The paintings were developed by Muxi, a monk and artist of the southern Tune Dynasty (1127-1279), and are renowned for their unique viewpoint, which was achieved by the contrast of virtual and precise sights and assorted ink hues.

The paintings, which depict Xiaoxiang (current-working day Hunan Province), were being eventually confiscated by the Shogunate government immediately after becoming missing to the Japanese. At present, only 4 pieces exist, and they are just about every conserved independently in artwork institutions in Japan.

As influential as his work is, Monk Muxi is frequently credited with bringing Zen society to Japan. However, Liu pointed out that inspite of Zen culture’s Chinese roots, the French only associate it with Japanese lifestyle when you mention it to them.

“I would like to use this likelihood to shatter the stereotype.”

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

The staff was equipped to replicate the rolling mountains as depicted in “8 Scenes of Xiaoxiang” on the curtain of ropes by producing reef knots at numerous heights on each individual rope.

According to Liu, Zen tradition can be in comparison to karesansui, or Japanese rock gardens, as an abstraction that invites the imagination.

In buy to simulate the glittering sunshine on the water, he and his crew utilized black slippery pebbles that would reflect daylight fairly than generate an real pond in the back garden.

It skillfully mimics the really feel of a waterside setting without having using even a fall of water, accompanied by the sporadic croaking of frogs.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng


The summer months are the greatest occasions for a visit. The white, yellow, and purple flowers that are discovered in Monet’s paintings, can be seen peeking out from involving the ropes, when bamboo trees, an ancient Chinese image for integrity, are in the centre of the back garden.

“And you begin to question precisely wherever you are.”

Liu envisioned an ever-evolving point out for his backyard garden, which is mirrored not only in the levels of landscapes but also in the true structure. The hemp ropes literally shrink on wet days just before loosening up following drying.

He claimed that it was a clear illustration of “resilience idea” in design and style.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

A bird’s-eye see of the garden

Resilience, which has its roots in physics, refers to an object’s capacity to regain its size and shape pursuing deformation. Later on, it was incorporated into city arranging and architecture.

He argued that resilience in towns refers to the capability to resume typical dwelling and doing work ailments in the deal with of crises and all-natural disasters. “For instance, did Shanghai have a well-made source chain to safe supplies when it went into lockdown all through the most current COVID-19 outbreak?

“Will it be in a position to quickly resume generation?”

Liu set up the Illimité Architectes company in Shanghai in 2018, and opened an place of work in Paris in 2021.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

Site visitors wander in the garden.

The “Backyard of Illusion” is his latest experiment. It is low-carbon and environmentally friendly, with 78 per cent environmentally friendly coverage and domestically sourced timber and hemp ropes.

The workforce invited large university pupils to join in the backyard garden-constructing procedure, which is an additional vital component of citizens’ participation in the “resilient city” system. “Each individual citizen is both equally a consumer and a participant. To make sure that a town venture is sustainable and supports its customers, they are encouraged to work collectively with nearby authorities, true estate developers, economists, and environmentalists, amongst many others,” Liu said.

“It is the responsibility of architects to reintroduce the notion of a resilient town and citizen involvement in China.”

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