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Using plants as metaphor, The Forbidden Garden of Europe sheds new light on politically charged topics by telling the story of invasive alien species. Based on their ethnic and biological characteristics, 35 plants have been identified as posing a threat to native European plants, and it is illegal to grow, trade, and transport them throughout the EU. Studio Wild aims to create a parallel between the fate of these species and that of many of our neighbours who struggle to find common ground in Europe just because they are different. The studio wants to question this European legislation, and by doing so, initiate a discussion: do spatial, legal and social restrictions contribute to a more inclusive society? As Voltaire put it at the end of Candide: “Il faut cultiver notre jardin.” In order to change the world around us, we have to take responsibility for cultivating our own garden. With this notion in mind, Studio Wild can investigate new ways of living together.

Rather than banning plants from European soil, Studio Wild tries to cultivate coexistence in a post-Covid-19 society. This is the time to recalibrate ourselves and set a course for future-oriented solutions. With The Forbidden Garden of Europe, the studio wants to expand the notion of Europe as an open and shared public space for everybody during a time of inward-looking decision-making based on nationalistic values.

The Forbidden Garden of Europe will open at Spazio Punch in Giudecca, Venice, on 27 August 2021.

Studio Wild

Studio Wild is a collective founded in 2018 by two young architects, Tymon Hogenelst and Jesse van der Ploeg. With their practice, they operate on the border and areas of tension between politics, architecture and nature, embracing complexity by working in a variety of disciplines. They focus on the relationship between landscape and architecture, in regions that are at the frontier of the ever-changing world around us, generally low-density rural landscapes. Their personal work could be seen as the embodiment of researching this relationship, and a search for a new architecture within this context.

In order to engage successfully with such surroundings, Studio Wild aims to unite theory and practice, seeing building models, prototypes and building elements as crucial in understanding the challenges of construction and execution when building in both a cultural and natural landscape. Through initiating projects within these contexts, they endeavour to make architecture with an autonomous character. Studio Wild approaches every place and project with an original view, creating a means of discussion and dialogue.This method of working in a very intimate way, negotiating with the landscape, results in an architecture consciously situated in time and place.

The open call

Studio Wild is one of the three design teams selected to present a research proposal relating to the Dutch pavilion through an open call by Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Creative Industries Fund NL. The initiative is intended to promote and contribute to knowledge and the development of research in architecture and urbanism.


12:00 – 19:00

Spazio Punch, GiudeccaFondamenta S. Biagio, 800/o30133 Venezia VE, Italy


Guus Beumer, artistic director Het Nieuwe Instituut
Francien van Westrenen, head of Agency Het Nieuwe Instituut
Afaina de Jong, architect and researcher; Debra Solomon, artist and researcher
Richard Niessen
Laura Pappa, Robert Milne
Juan Arturo García
Caroline Nevejan, Chief Science Officer City of Amsterdam; Huda AbiFarès, graphic design and co-editor
Mike Emmerik, Simone Rots, Independent School for the City
Lada Hršak, Bureau LADA; Chiara Dorbolò and Daphne Bakker, Failed Architecture; Tymon Hogenelst and Jesse van der Ploeg, Studio Wild