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Gardens for the Future: Gestures Against the Wild

Gardens for the Future: Gestures Against the Wild
Guy Cooper and Gordon Taylor
New York: Monacelli Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 224 p., $40

If you're looking for documentation of innovative contemporary landscape design, or landscape as art and environment, even good search engines will present few choices. Guy Cooper and Gordon Taylor are to be commended for having already brought us such inspiring books as Paradise Transformed: The Private Garden for the Twenty-First Century and Gardens of Obsession. With this publication, they further detail "extraordinary recent developments in garden design" as well as 20 case studies of provocative public sites. This book will keep your imagination stimulated well into the night.

The "New Design Aesthetic" of which the authors speak is apparent from the volume's own graphic style. Lush photographs, discernable text and intelligent layout guide the reader through this bold philosophy, its vision and implementation. Mrs. Cooper and Taylor subscribe to Robert Irwin's (the artist who designed the new gardens at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles) three classifications of landscape: site-dominant, site-adjusted or site-generated. The major of landscapes reproduced here are site-generated, or "designs inspired by the intrinsic nature of the site." They incorporate hidden aspects, such as geology and history, as well as visible physical features. Not only is this volume instructive, but it also fills a tangible gap with sophisticated substance.

Few publications are as successful at balancing philosophy and logistics. Case studies comprise about half the text. Sketches ranging from loose hand-drawn to computer-generated are exceptionally educational. This book will cement the foundation of any garden library that prides itself on being up-to-date.

— Julie Siegel, Contributing Writer, Landscape Designer and Master Gardener at the Chicago Botanic Garden.