Atelier Kesteren Valerio
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. . .
Verborgen Tuin
A bronze cast of Dutch forest soil
. . .
Verborgen Tuin
Redesign of a sylvan garden
Design phase
The felling of a large ash, weakened by its old age, has left a clearing in the forest. A lush border that contains the overgrown ruin of a brick bench separates the forest from the rest of the garden, leaving it barely noticeable from the house.

The proposal is to remove the back of the bench. An opening, framed by the remaining arm rests, provides a view from the house on the clearing in the forest. A tombak water basin, casted in the forest soil it sits on, accentuates the clearing. The milling used to level the edge of the basin leaves a golden fringe - that like the water - reflects the light of the sunbeams penetrating the forest.

Every spring the forest is filled with anemones, snowdrops and crocuses. We propose a mix of new plants that form the backdrop for the water basin and the clearing in the forest. One hundred Rhododendrons densify the forest’s border. Periwinkle is used as a ground cover around the clearing. A mix of hostas, soft shield ferns, yellow wax-bells, bishop's hats and treacle berries is planted in front of the tall plumes of goat's beard. The new plants are selected to add to the luster of the forest throughout the seasons.

Many of the decisions are made on site. Tested and adjusted step by step, the plan is evolving slowly as the garden takes shape.
Paul Ricoeur
from: History and Truth
"The phenomenon of universalization, while being an advancement of mankind, at the same time constitutes a sort of subtle destruction, not only of traditional cultures, which might not be an irreparable wrong, but also of what I shall call for the time being the creative nucleus of great cultures, that nucleus on the basis of which we interpret life, what I shall call in advance the ethical and mythical nucleus of mankind. The conflict springs up from there. We have the feeling that this single world civilization at the same time exerts a sort of attrition or wearing away at the expense of the cultural resources which have made the great civilizations of the past. This threat is expressed, among other disturbing effects, by the spreading before our eyes of a mediocre civilization which is the absurd counterpart of what I was just calling elementary culture. Everywhere throughout the world, one finds the same bad movie, the same slot machines, the same plastic or aluminum atrocities, the same twisting of language by propaganda, etc.
It seems as if mankind, by approaching en masse a basic consumer culture, were also stopped en masse at a subcultural level. Thus we come to the crucial problem confronting nations just rising from underdevelopment. In order to get on the road toward modernization, is it necessary to jettison the old cultural past which has been the raison d'etre of a nation? . . . Whence the paradox: on the one hand, it has to root itself in the soil of its past, forgea national spirit, and unfurl this spiritual and cultural revindication before the colonialist's personality. But in order to take part in modern civilization it is necessary at the same time to take part in scientific, technical, and political rationality, something which very often requires the pure and simple abandon of a whole cultural past. It is a fact: every culture cannot sustain and absorb the shock of modern civilization. There is the paradox: how to become modern and to return to sources; how to revive an old, dormant civilization and take part in universal civilization"

from History and Truth by Paul Ricoeur
Artist studios
In a historic building in Amsterdam
Design phase
from:Pantomime Treppenwitz; O. Schlemmer
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