Future Green Studio

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Purgatorium: Festival International des Jardins

Chaumont-sur-Loire, France


For the renowned international garden festival in France’s Loire Valley, Future Green created an installation evoking the literary landscape of the Purgatorio – the interlude between Inferno and Paradise in Dante’s great Renaissance masterpiece, The Divine Comedy. Meant as a place of purification, Future Green’s Purgatorio takes the form of a garden, leading visitors on a meandering journey of indulgence, temptation, and confession.

Seven bands of wooden poles radiate out from a central circle conceived as a garden of lightness; meandering paths, low earthen berms, and embedded mirrors create surprising sight lines and encourage exploration. Color in the garden plays between darkness and light – black timber rounds, dark grey schist gravel, a wild planting palette with soft yellow grasses and dusty gray-green foliage.

At the center of the garden, perennials with ornamental purple blooms encircle a stainless steel mirror, evoking an ever-inaccessible perfection. Around this forbidden garden, visitors are invited to write a confession on a strip of white fabric. Over the course of the year-long installation, the black wooden poles become lighter through the adornment of white fabric confessions, cycling through the seasons as Dante circled through an inner poetic landscape.