2017 International Garden Festival exhibits revealed

International Garden Festival

Playsages is the theme for the 18th edition of the International Garden Festival, “Playsages” is a play on words (play + paysages), “paysage” is the word for landscape in French. Whether you are a child or an adult with a sense of play, the “Playsages” offered by this year’s Festival are bright, lively, colourful – and invite visitors to play.

The Festival also wanted designers to respond to our growing distance and alienation from the natural world. We spend less time outdoors… and when outdoors, we often observe the landscape with an electronic tool in our hands or mask the sounds of the natural world with ear buds. The six projects selected from among the 162 proposals received from designers from 30 countries responded to the invitation to re-think play and take part in the global discussion over nature-deficit disorder.

The new installations on exhibit for the 2017 edition are:

International Garden Festival


L’Escale by Collectif Escargo [Pierre-Yves Diehl, designer, Karyna St-Pierre, landscape architect & Julie Parenteau, art teacher], Montréal (Québec) Canada. Small plots of land on wheels, wagons for children, are made available to be chosen, adopted and brought along for our visit of the Festival site. www.collectifescargo.com

International Garden Festival

International Garden Festival
The Woodstock by Atelier YokYok [Steven Fuhrman, Samson Lacoste & Luc Pinsard, architects, Laure K, teacher & Pauline Lazareff, architect engineer], Paris (France). An unusual playground grows in the shade of trees and forms a play space where the children become giants, perched at the top of the wooden causeway. www.atelieryokyok.com

International Garden Festival

International Garden Festival

La Chrysalide by landscape architects Gabriel Lacombe & Virginie Roy-Mazoyer, Vancouver (British Columbia) & Montreal (Quebec) Canada. An invitation to take a break in time, between childhood and adulthood, to climb into the tree, make a nest and lay there to dream.


Paysage euphonique by MANI [Claudia Campeau, architect & Maud Benech, designer m. arch.], Montreal (Quebec) Canada. A set of giant play facilities creates a tension in our rapport with the landscape and forces us to see and hear nature differently. www.manimtl.wordpress.com


Soundcloud by Johanna Ballhaus, landscape architect & Helen Wyss, architect, Montreal (Quebec) Canada & Fribourg (Switzerland). Bells attached to the ends of metal rods create the illusion of mist and clouds where a dialogue with nature begins and where stories can be told.


HAIKU by architects Francisco A. Garcia Pérez & Alessandra Vignotto, Granada (Spain). A lonely swing in the forest, a flooded path, a motionless stone. Everything is in place to appreciate the cycle of the forest life.

The jury for the 2017 edition was composed of: Amélie Germain, landscape architect with the Ville de Québec (co-designer of Nettoyage à sec for the 2005 and 2006 edition of the Festival); Erick Rivard, architect and urban designer, Groupe A / Annexe U from Quebec City (co-designer of Se mouiller – la belle échappée for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 edition of the Festival); Vadim Siegel, architect, ABCP architecture from Quebec City; François Leblanc, technical director of the Festival; and Alexander Reford, director of the International Garden Festival and Les Jardins de Métis.

The new installations form part of the Festival’s 18th edition that includes returning work by some of the best and most talented landscape architects, architects and artists from Canada and around the world. Their installations float, tilt and hang. They slide and move around. You can see yourself in a reflection or hear your own voice amplified. You can climb a tower, slosh about in a pond, amble up the smooth sides of a giant boulder and rise to the challenge of negotiating a forest of tree trunks. Experience the joy of moving mature trees along a hidden rail, don a pair of colourful rubber boots to muck it up among the floating aquatic plants or relax beneath the colourful bands blowing. Visitors can play in the white ribbons in Le bon arbre au bon endroit, a forest of Hydro-Québec poles that also serve as a reminder about planting the right tree in the right place.

The Reford Gardens will be open every day up to October 8, 2017. Children 13 and under are admitted free of charge.

Image Credits | Martin Bond