Gustafson Porter

Gustafson Porter

London, GB


Towards Paradise

Located in the grounds of a ruined 13th-century Benedictine nunnery, ‘Towards Paradise’ was the first major landscape commission by the Venice Architecture Biennale.

The brief, ‘Il faut cultiver notre jardin,’ led the team to question what needs help us cultivate our souls, and to create a temporary, site-responsive installation carved into the nunnery’s overgrown vegetation.

Tracing an allegorical journey from death to life and on towards paradise, the garden included, ‘Store Room’ in which existing shelves were inscribed with Latin names of extinct and endangered species. Tunnels through brambles led to ‘Abundance,’ offering ripe plants bursting with life. In ‘Enlightenment,’ a long, oval clearing with suspended veils and helium-filled ‘Clouds’ provided serenity to allow the visitor to find their own personal sense of enlightenment.

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Status: Built
Location: Venice, IT
My Role: Landscape Architect
Additional Credits: Curator: Aaron Betsky
Collaboration: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
Engineer: Atelier One
Lighting Designer: Reggiani
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon
Consultants: (Landscape contractor) Benetazzo Spazioverde
Consultants: (Clouds) Architen Landrell
Consultants: (Benches) Santa & Cole


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