The International Garden Festival is launching a call for proposals to select designers to create the new temporary gardens for the Festival’s 25th edition, which will open on June 21, 2024 on the site of Les Jardins de Métis | Reford Gardens.
2024 Theme – The ecology of possibility
Celebrations are in order: in 2024, the International Garden Festival will turn 25! While it is certainly something to celebrate, hitting this milestone is also an invitation to reflect on our journey thus far, and to look to the future.
So, what was the premise for the Festival, with the first edition held at the turn of the millennium? What issues and themes have been addressed since then? How have our concerns and ideologies evolved? And what kind of future do we envision for the gardens?
Established in the year 2000, the International Garden Festival has always been heavily committed to the exploration and renewal of the art of the garden. The inaugural edition showcased eight original creations that placed the nature-culture dialectic at the forefront.
Although the Festival still considers the hows and the whys of the contemporary garden, the concepts addressed, and the perspectives employed, have changed. Over the past 25 years, our theoretical outlook on various issues has shifted, our critical vocabulary has diversified, and now, more than ever, we feel the urgency to act in the face of accelerating climate change. The basic dichotomy of nature versus culture now seems antiquated, with contemporary anthropology having demonstrated that humankind’s understanding of the natural universe falls within a relational dynamic. Following this rationale, the concepts of nature and culture cannot be compared, as the former is invariably perceived through the latter.
It seems to us that the garden today (be it private or public) has a social responsibility. Sustainable, it preserves and supports biodiversity. Plants are rigorously selected after considering the specific needs and behaviours of each species and how they interact. The characteristics of the site to be developed and their evolution over the seasons are also carefully studied.
In light of these ideologies and present circumstances, is the future of the garden a united one? Is it based on a relational, cross-disciplinary approach?
We’d like to wager that the future of the garden will be forged from genuine dialogue with the living.
The Festival encourages participants to form multidisciplinary teams, and the call for proposals is open to all landscape architects, architects, visual artists, and teams from Canada and abroad. Applicants are limited to one proposal, either as individuals or as a team. Participants can be from a single city or country, or from across international boundaries.
Designers are invited to design a garden that can take place in one or other of the axes of the Festival. The artistic and technical committee of the Festival will identify, in collaboration with the designers, the site that will best showcase their project. Designers will be asked to imagine their garden for exhibition for at least two summers, and to propose strategies for the repurposing or recycling of the garden or its materials after the end of its exhibition.
Designers whose work has been exhibited in one of the last three editions (2020, 2021, or 2022) of the Festival are not eligible for this call for proposals.
Deadline to Submit Proposals
The deadline to submit proposals electronically is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2023 at 17:00 EST. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.
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