Ephemeral Ribbons

The gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte, founding piece of the French formal gardens, are living an unprecedented change.

Ephemeral ribbons

The boxwood parterres of the boulingrins (derived from the English “bowling green”), aging and diseased, were uprooted in March 2019 to make way for an ephemeral work of art, created especially for the estate, and chosen from candidate proposals in 2018.


The Ephemeral Ribbons, by Patrick Hourcade

The work, entitled “Ephemeral Ribbons” is inspired by drawings of arabesques by Achille Duchêne (early 20th century), themselves inspired by the embroidery patterns designed by Le Nôtre in the 17th century.

Ephemeral Ribbons consist of 390 angled aluminum plaques, all unique. Each one is of a different size, shape and angle. Aluminum lends strength and dynamism to the arabesques, even while echoing the interplay of reflections and mirror-images of the water-features. The work is intended to be evolutive and lively: as a kind of natural video, it will never be the identical two days in a row. The sky reflects in the plaques, causing differences in the effects of light and resulting in constant modification of the Ephemeral Ribbons.

“The idea of a reworking of the arabesque seemed obvious. The arabesque is both the origin—the DNA of the garden—and the cause of the problem, since the decline of the boxwood is the cause behind a contemporary work of art” indicates Patrick Hourcade.

You can enjoy discovering this original ephemeral work as of the month of June! The work will be on exhibition for 2 to 5 years, while possibilities for a permanent solution for the replacement of the embroidery-patterned boxwoods in the jardins à la française are undertaken.

Discover the timelapse of its creation :

Find out more information about the boxwood problems and the Ephemeral Ribbons, by Patrick Hourcade, HERE!

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