I don’t like to admit to feeling envious. But, I was jealous of Luciano Giubbiliei. His talk at NYBG this morning, was exactly the kind of talk I would like to give, if ever asked. Giubbilei was personal, honest and self-effacing. His talk was about his journey as a gardener. Growing up in Tuscany, his work has its roots in the organized gridded landscape of Italian vineyards and the famous
villas of this region, like the Villa Gamberaia, where Giubbilei worked as a young man.
“What I learned at Villa Gamberaia was that every element was important to the feeling. The composition of space, the layers of atmosphere, the reflection of the water.”
The gardens Giubbilei made were green gardens. Gardens that manipulated space as much through volumes as through voids. The movement of light and its emotional impact were essential elements in these gardens. This became the style Giubbilei was known for. As he said, ” a style can quickly become a cage.”
Unlike so many designers, who have clients knocking on the door, Giubbilei knew he needed a change. “I wanted to stay in touch with the process of making gardens.” In 2011, I got in touch with Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter. “Fergus gave me a place to make a garden. It was high intensity gardening. It was a place to make mistakes. A place to pause. ” Don’t we all need this, we just can’t always get it.
Giubbilei amplifies his work by engaging artists to participate in the design of his gardens. He has collaborated with artists such as Ursula Von Rydingsvard, Kengo Kuma, Peter Randall-Page and Keiichi Tahara.
What was most important to me in Giubbilei’s presentation was his desire to move forward. “It’s a process, like the border. It’s never static, it’s endpoints are unknown.” I feel the same way. The joy of making gardens is always prospective.