The ‘Garden of Illusion’ is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Liu Xiangcheng, a Chinese architect, claims that an suitable garden represents an idyllic way of everyday living, a no cost spirit and the strategy that persons ought to be a organic section of nature.

Liu and his colleagues designed the “Backyard garden of Illusion” at the Area of Chaumont-sur-Loire in France as a nod to the mountains and rivers that figured prominently in ancient Chinese philosophy.

Out of the 24 gardens that the Chaumont-sur-Loire Worldwide Garden Competition chose for this year, this is the only one that was established by a Chinese staff.

The pageant is held per year in the gardens of the castles in the Loire Valley between April and November. The topic for this year’s celebration of its 30th anniversary is “suitable yard.”

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

The “Back garden of Illusion” at the Chaumont-sur-Loire Intercontinental Backyard garden Festival

Ethnic kitsch

The Tongji University postgraduate prevented “ethnic kitsch” by heading beyond “individual cultural indications” as opposed to replicating a regular Chinese backyard garden.

Three concentric circles may possibly be discovered in the “Garden of Illusion” – the outer round alleyway, the bamboo cluster in the middle and a Zen retreat encircled by bamboos in the centre.

In accordance to Liu, equally Japanese and Western cultures routinely use the circle image.

He explained that in Taoist philosophy, the circle, which has no beginning or conclusion, stands in for the cosmos, mother nature, eternity, and harmony. Western civilization associates perfection with the circle.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

Architect and city planner Liu Xiangcheng

The architect makes use of concentric circles to illustrate how two civilizations might dwell peacefully in a one backyard garden and to existing “an perfect strategy of Oriental philosophy in a Western context.”

Liu utilized simplicity to incorporate this piece with a dozen standard procedures of classic Chinese garden layout.

For occasion, when going by way of a yard, the environment differ as you go. The visitation route is meticulously prepared, winding all the way to a non-public meditation location that is hid by bamboos.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

Layers of landscapes in the back garden

Encouraged by an legendary series of ink-wash paintings titled “Eight Scenes of Xiaoxiang,” Liu created the choice to depict mountains and rivers in a Zen-impressed way.

One particular of the features is the open up-perform circular picket composition that lies on the inside of the alleyway. A see-by means of curtain-like set up of 240 hemp ropes is strung on the construction.

The group was in a position to replicate the rolling mountains as depicted in “8 Scenes of Xiaoxiang” on the curtain of ropes by creating reef knots at many heights on every single rope.

The paintings were being produced by Muxi, a monk and artist of the southern Music Dynasty (1127-1279), and are renowned for their exclusive perspective, which was accomplished by the contrast of digital and actual sights and numerous ink hues.

The paintings, which depict Xiaoxiang (current-day Hunan Province), were at some point confiscated by the Shogunate authorities after staying shed to the Japanese. At this time, only 4 parts exist, and they are each conserved independently in artwork establishments in Japan.

As influential as his get the job done is, Monk Muxi is usually credited with bringing Zen society to Japan. On the other hand, Liu famous that inspite of Zen culture’s Chinese roots, the French only affiliate it with Japanese society when you mention it to them.

“I might like to use this likelihood to shatter the stereotype.”

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

The workforce was equipped to replicate the rolling mountains as depicted in “Eight Scenes of Xiaoxiang” on the curtain of ropes by creating reef knots at several heights on every rope.

In accordance to Liu, Zen society can be in comparison to karesansui, or Japanese rock gardens, as an abstraction that invites the imagination.

In purchase to simulate the glittering sunshine on the drinking water, he and his team utilized black slippery pebbles that would mirror daylight fairly than generate an actual pond in the yard.

It skillfully mimics the come to feel of a waterside location without using even a drop of h2o, accompanied by the sporadic croaking of frogs.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng


The summer time months are the most effective instances for a visit. The white, yellow, and purple flowers that are identified in Monet’s paintings, can be observed peeking out from among the ropes, though bamboo trees, an historical Chinese symbol for integrity, are in the center of the backyard.

“And you commence to question precisely where you are.”

Liu envisioned an at any time-evolving condition for his garden, which is reflected not only in the levels of landscapes but also in the true layout. The hemp ropes virtually shrink on wet times just before loosening up following drying.

He claimed that it was a apparent illustration of “resilience theory” in style.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

A bird’s-eye check out of the garden

Resilience, which has its roots in physics, refers to an object’s capacity to regain its size and shape pursuing deformation. Afterwards, it was included into city preparing and architecture.

He argued that resilience in towns refers to the capability to resume regular dwelling and functioning circumstances in the encounter of crises and all-natural disasters. “For instance, did Shanghai have a well-developed source chain to secure materials when it went into lockdown for the duration of the most recent COVID-19 outbreak?

“Will it be equipped to promptly resume creation?”

Liu established the Illimité Architectes company in Shanghai in 2018, and opened an workplace in Paris in 2021.

The 'Garden of Illusion' is a nod to Taoist philosophy

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

Site visitors wander in the backyard garden.

The “Yard of Illusion” is his latest experiment. It is reduced-carbon and environmentally helpful, with 78 percent environmentally friendly coverage and domestically sourced timber and hemp ropes.

The crew invited superior college learners to join in the garden-setting up approach, which is one more critical ingredient of citizens’ participation in the “resilient metropolis” process. “Every citizen is the two a person and a participant. To assure that a city venture is sustainable and supports its users, they are inspired to get the job done with each other with local govt, true estate builders, economists, and environmentalists, amongst some others,” Liu claimed.

“It is the obligation of architects to reintroduce the plan of a resilient city and citizen involvement in China.”


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