The RHS has a conceptual gardens category, at the Hampton Court Flower Show, which has produced excellent work, pathetic work – and much confusion. (See: Hampton Court Conceptual Garden Applications for how the RHS explains the Concept Gardens idea). So let’s take the Folded Landscape, by Voght for the Laban Centre as an example.
- Conceptual art foregrounds ideas, with visual imagery taking a backseat.
- Gilles Deleuze put forward a set of ideas which derive from deconstruction, and which have almost superseded deconstruction as an influence on design theory. The underlying principle is monist: the world is only one thing (which Spinoza identified with God) and it constantly folds into new forms. The One becomes the Many; the Many is always the One (is there a Buddhist resonance here?)
- Voght designed a Folded Landscape for the Laban Centre. It is a prime example of a Conceptual Garden Design – with room for fruitful debate as to whether the visual image is the foreground, background or reflected ground.
The folding concept, though explained by its advocates with the greatest possible linguistic obfuscation, is an attractive principle for the re-integration of architectural design with garden and landscape design – after modernism rent them asunder.