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The Forbidden Garden of Europe

Studio Wild’s The Forbidden Garden of Europe, at Spazio Punch in Giudecca will host a garden of ‘invasive alien plant species’, which have been listed for their ethnic and biological characteristics and pose a threat to European native species. The European legislative act from 2016 instated a list of 35 invasive plant species which are to be eradicated and banned from European soil.

Using plants as metaphor, The Forbidden Garden of Europe sheds new light on politically charged topics and tells the story of these invasive alien plant species. Based on their ethnic and biological characteristics, these species pose a threat to native European plants and are illegal to grow, trade, and transport throughout the EU. Studio Wild’s aim is to create a parallel between the fate of these species and the fate 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, provoke the discussion on whether spatial, legal and social restrictions contribute to a more inclusive society. As Voltaire has 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 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 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 times of inward looking and decision-making based on nationalistic values.

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

Studio Wild

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

To engage in a dialogue with such surroundings in a successful way, Studio Wild believes both physical and theoretical work is essential. In their work they aim to unite Praxis and Theory. The importance of building models, prototypes and building elements is crucial to understand the challenges of construction and execution, when building in a both 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.

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