Marie Claire Maison (Italy) - - ENGLISH TEXT -

Art and land­sca­pe co­me to­ge­ther in an uni­cum of rare beau­ty in the Étre­tat Gar­dens, in Nor­man­dy. A to­pia­ry ma­ster­pie­ce over­loo­king the whi­te cliffs im­mor­ta­li­sed by Monet

By Gae­ta­no Zoccali - Pho­tos Mat­teo Carassale

The su­perb sce­ne­ry of the Ala­ba­ster Coa­st, wi­th its whi­te cliffs, is tru­ly majestic. And the Étre­tat Gar­dens, in Up­per

Nor­man­dy, we­re crea­ted to ma­gni­fy this na­tu­ral set­ting, ce­le­bra­ting it wi­th a to­pia­ry ma­ster­pie­ce stud­ded wi­th con­tem­po­ra­ry works. A pro­ject he­roi­cal­ly “han­ging” on a slo­pe bet­ween sky and sea, to fra­me the Amont Cliff. Gi­ving voi­ce to the ge­nius lo­ci is Rus­sian land­sca­pe designer Ale­xan­der Gri­v­ko, foun­der, to­ge­ther wi­th Mark Du­mas, of Lon­don stu­dio Il Na­tu­re (il­na­tu­re.co.uk), wi­th of­fi­ces in Pa­ris and Mo­scow and a su­per-ex­clu­si­ve clien­te­le. He­re, ho­we­ver, the land­sca­pe designer − who­se crea­ti­ve ap­proa­ch is in­spi­red by the Bel­gian school of Jac­ques Wir­tz and Da­niël Ost − ex­pres­sed him­self free­ly, con­cei­ving his fir­st Eden open to the pu­blic: a green ma­ni­fe­sto crea­ted wi­th the con­tri­bu­tion of a well-kno­wn art col­lec­tor, inau­gu­ra­ted in 2017 af­ter two years of work. The light­ning bolt ca­me du­ring a ho­li­day to the sty­li­sh sea­si­de re­sort, when Gri­v­ko bought the hou­se that be­lon­ged to the ac­tress Ma­da­me Thé­bault. Lo­ca­ted at the mo­st sce­nic point of the ove­rhang, it bears the na­me of the le­gen­da­ry wi­fe of Su­lei­man the Ma­gni­fi­cent, Ro­xe­la­na. As a tri­bu­te to the ma­ny bri­des of the Tur­ki­sh Sul­tan, du­ring the Bel­le Épo­que the di­va col­lec­ted or­chids. But the ma­gic lies in the pro­per­ty’s grounds, a sto­ny area tran­sfor­med in­to an oa­sis ri­ch in sha­de; the fa­vou­ri­te spot of friend Clau­de Monet, who in front of the­se land­sca­pes would re­crea­te the cliffs in around fif­ty pain­tings. Ale­xan­der Gri­v­ko per­pe­tua­tes its charm; the fil rou­ge is a se­quen­ce of the­med lay­ou­ts, whi­ch de­scend the slo­pe, in­cor­po­ra­ting si­te-spe­ci­fic in­stal­la­tions. From the Jar­din Ava­tar, who­se to­pia­ries are a nod to the cliffs − ho­me to the Grey­world col­lec­ti­ve’s

Cloc­k­work Fo­re­st − we rea­ch the Jar­din Émo­tions, wi­th its box trees pru­ned in the sha­pe of half-shells, in­spi­red by the an­cient oy­ster farm do­wn­stream of the esta­te, ow­ned in the eighteen­th cen­tu­ry by Queen Ma­rie An­toi­net­te. He­re, se­ven sculp­tu­ral fa­ces in re­sin and alu­mi­nium stand out: Sa­muel Sal­ce­do’s Drops of Rain. From the Jar­din Im­pres­sions, whe­re spi­rals of phil­ly­rea re­pro­du­ce the swir­ling mo­tions of the wa­ters of the En­gli­sh Chan­nel, we rea­ch the Jar­din d’Aval, a triumph of yew tree ar­ches and spi­res, a hymn to the jag­ged ar­chi­tec­tu­re of the coa­st. Amid­st the greens are mea­su­red no­tes of co­lour, used to em­pha­si­se the flow of the sea­sons: rho­do­den­drons, a ri­ch col­lec­tion of la­dy’s slip­pers, aga­pan­thus and hy­dran­geas, re­sem­bling pre­cious sto­nes set among hed­ges chi­sel­led li­ke jewels.

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