Louis Benech: Twelve French Gardens

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9782353401550: Louis Benech: Twelve French Gardens
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  • In this elegant and accessible book, the photographer Eric Sander and the journalist Eric Jansen offer a portrait of Louis Benech's gardens in all their beauty and subtlety

This book presents twelve French gardens designed by Louis Benech, from the Jardin du Soleil et des Nuages at the Château de Villandry to Square Nicolas Forestier in inner-city Paris, via an estate in the Sologne, a Normandy manor house, a Breton flower garden, an exotic oasis in central Paris, a project in the footsteps of Russell Page in Burgundy, and the gardens of the Château de Pange, officially recognized by the French Ministry of Culture as a jardin remarquable . In their wide diversity, these twelve gardens reflect the many facets of a remarkable talent that has earned Louis Benech worldwide recognition; perhaps they also herald a second volume devoted to a further twelve designs by Benech, this time selected from his work outside France?
Louis Benech came to gardening through his love of plants. After studying law, he went to work at the famous Hillier Nurseries in England. Captivated by what he learned there, he returned to France to work as gardener in a private garden in Normandy. In 1985, he began his career as a garden designer and landscape architect. Five years later he was commissioned, with Pascal Cribier and François Roubaud, to redesign the historic part of the Tuileries gardens. Since then, he has designed and carried out some 300 projects, both public and private, and stretching from Korea to Panama, via Canada and the United States, Greece and Morocco. While most of his work has been for private individuals, he has also received commissions from large multinational companies such as Axa, Hermès and Suez. He has also worked on many established historic gardens, such as those at the Elysée Palace, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Quai d Orsay in Paris, the chateau at Chaumont on the Loire, and the Achilleion in Corfu. Recent commissions have included the gardens of the Archives Nationales in Paris, and the creation of a new garden in the Bosquet du Théâtre d Eau at the Palace of Versailles. In all of his projects, Louis Benech sets out to create a genuinely harmonious relationship between his landscape design and the natural and architectural setting of each site. Ideally, he would like this interface to be so subtle that no one would even guess that he had worked there. Maintenance is one of his prime concerns, and he devotes particular attention to finding the most cost-effective ways of ensuring the continuity of his gardens.

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About the Author:

Eric Jansen is a journalist (Point de Vue, Série Limitée, Air France Madame) specializing in luxury goods and lifestyles. He has followed Louis Benech's work for many years.

Eric Sander is one of the most celebrated garden photographers of his generation. With its unique ability to capture the elusive qualities of light, his work appears regularly in exclusive magazines and books.

Review:

It wasn’t the garden designer Louis Benech’s idea to do a book on his work: How, Benech wonders, can one really get to know a garden without walking it? But fortunately for his admirers, next month’s Louis Benech: Twelve French Gardens offers the chance to take an imaginary stroll through a handful of the designer’s projects, like a private estate designed around a babbling stream in Normandy, France, and the paved public garden at Square Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier in Paris.
(New York Times Style Magazine, Summer Culture 2013)

This is a volume you need to hold and leaf through the pages. Benech has designed more than 300 public and private gardens around the world, but the guy isn't a showboater. His work has great subtlety. Some gardens are more naturalistic, others are formal, depending on the architecture of the place. His gardens lie somewhere between modern and traditional, each well-suited to its site. All are about space, light and shadows, forms and shades of green. This is the book to curl up with and dream the winter away.
(Valerie Easton The Seattle Times, October 18, 2013)

While I have little talent in the arena of landscape design, I can certainly recognize someone who does, so I was delighted to discover Louis Benech in the new book of his work, Twelve French Gardens. Whether you are an actual or armchair gardener, Louis Benech Twelve French Gardens is a volume you will enjoy reading as much as ogling.
(Quintessence Lifestyle Blog, October 29, 2013)

[The book] provides an excellent introduction to his work, which so deftly combines classic formal garden design with a more relaxed contemporary approach.
(Gardenista Blog, October 11, 2013)

Louis Benech, France's greatest living landscape designer...In his 30 years in horticulture, designing, planting and maintaining gardens at some of the most glorious properties in Europe...Benech has watched his 'babies,' as he calls his plantings, grow. (Dana Thomas The New York Times, October 12, 2016)

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