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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Dunne

Gold at Bloom!

We are delighted to have won another Gold medal at this year's Bloom flower show in Dublin's Phoenix park.That makes it two for two! In 2014 Andrew won gold, best in show (medium) and designers choice for good measure.This year Andrew set the bar even higher with a complex large garden containing many different elements and skills including, stone work, water features, steel work, polished concrete and a working gas fire.

The Garden was designed for Savills Ireland and called 'face 2 face'.The concept aimed to reconnect us with our environment and each other, all within the confines and comfort of our own homes. With the ever changing landscape of the social media age, interactions between people and our environment has all too often become a series of text and images which we ‘Like’, share, post and retweet. Where we believe we are more connected than ever, in reality the opposite is true. In place of real interactions and engagements on a human level, we have succumbed to the ease of virtual connections and interactions which are often just a shadow of the real thing. Our garden has been designed to both highlight the problem and offer a solution to this disconnect and redress the balance in all our lives.

This lush contemporary space has at its centre a sunken seating area by a large open fire. The fire represents the distraction that all this technology can be as we are mesmerised by its flames, however as the seating within the space faces each other, and not the fire, the priority of meaningful engagement is set.

The living table within the seating area is another example of how often we view the natural world through a glass screen. An image of a tree cut into steel becomes the main focus of the access path into the garden, however right beside this image is the real thing showing how we have changed our focus over time.

The large water feature at the front of the garden will offer up a reflection of the sky which will be photographed and shared many times but who will look up and notice the real thing? Parts of the garden can only be admired from a distance as low walls act as a barrier to allowing full interaction with the plants. To counter balance this, the sandstone stepping stones at the end of the garden force you to get up close and personal with the plants and trees as nature intended.

The Material pallet was intentionally kept simple and repeated in several different forms to create coherence throughout the garden. Rusted steel was used for the fireplace, the water features, the bespoke screen and the path edgings. Buff colored stone (Irish sandstone and Quartz) has been used to form the paths, the seated area, the stone walls and the steps. Both materials complement each other well but most importantly when they are combined with the planting scheme they never dominate or overtake the overall design. The contemporary style and palette of materials were been chosen to reflect modern life and how in spite of all our advances, something has been corroded along the way.

Our planting scheme within the garden was intended to be an anti-dote to the intense visual stimulation that we are bombarded with via our phones and computer screens on a daily basis. Our color palette was kept deliberately subtle with green and white the predominant colors. The aim of the scheme was to calm you down and slow the mind giving you a chance to reconnect with yourself and others without distraction.

The garden proved a hit with the judges and the public alike. Over 115,000 people visited the show with many of them stopping to listen to Andrew explaining the theme of the garden and answering questions.

There were many visitors to to the garden including the Japanese ambassador, The Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Radio Presenter Ryan Tubirdy and The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina. All of whom were impressed by the garden and particularity the story of modern life behind it.

All in all it was a great success and a huge team effort by all those involved but now that the dust has settled it is back to the day job of designing and creating stunning gardens across the country and even further afield. So if you would like your home or business to recieve the Andrew Christopher Garden design treatment please be sure to give us a call.

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