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

Liu Xiangcheng, a Chinese architect, claims that an great yard signifies an idyllic way of existence, a totally free spirit and the notion that people today need to be a natural element of character.

Liu and his colleagues made the “Yard 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 Intercontinental Yard Competition selected for this year, this is the only one particular that was established by a Chinese group.

The competition is held per year in the gardens of the castles in the Loire Valley amongst April and November. The concept for this year’s celebration of its 30th anniversary is “ideal back garden.”

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

The “Garden of Illusion” at the Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Competition

Ethnic kitsch

The Tongji College postgraduate averted “ethnic kitsch” by going outside of “specific cultural indications” as opposed to replicating a typical Chinese back garden.

A few concentric circles may be found in the “Back garden of Illusion” – the outer round alleyway, the bamboo cluster in the heart and a Zen retreat encircled by bamboos in the center.

In accordance to Liu, both Japanese and Western cultures consistently use the circle symbol.

He explained that in Taoist philosophy, the circle, which has no starting or end, stands in for the cosmos, 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 urban planner Liu Xiangcheng

The architect takes advantage of concentric circles to illustrate how two civilizations may perhaps dwell peacefully in a one yard and to present “an best idea of Oriental philosophy in a Western context.”

Liu applied simplicity to incorporate this piece with a dozen fundamental strategies of classic Chinese garden design.

For instance, when likely via a yard, the surroundings vary as you go. The visitation route is meticulously prepared, winding all the way to a private meditation region that is hid by bamboos.

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

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

Levels of landscapes in the back garden

Encouraged by an iconic sequence of ink-clean paintings titled “8 Scenes of Xiaoxiang,” Liu produced the decision to depict mountains and rivers in a Zen-impressed way.

One particular of the attributes is the open up-do the job circular wood structure that lies on the inside of the alleyway. A see-through curtain-like set up of 240 hemp ropes is strung on the structure.

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

The paintings ended up developed by Muxi, a monk and artist of the southern Music Dynasty (1127-1279), and are renowned for their distinctive perspective, which was obtained by the contrast of virtual and actual views and varied ink hues.

The paintings, which depict Xiaoxiang (present-working day Hunan Province), were ultimately confiscated by the Shogunate govt following becoming shed to the Japanese. Presently, only four pieces exist, and they are just about every conserved independently in art institutions in Japan.

As influential as his perform is, Monk Muxi is routinely credited with bringing Zen lifestyle to Japan. However, Liu mentioned that in spite of Zen culture’s Chinese roots, the French only associate it with Japanese society when you mention it to them.

“I’d like to use this probability to shatter the stereotype.”

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

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

The staff was able to replicate the rolling mountains as depicted in “8 Scenes of Xiaoxiang” on the curtain of ropes by making reef knots at a variety of heights on each rope.

In accordance to Liu, Zen culture can be when compared to karesansui, or Japanese rock gardens, as an abstraction that invitations the imagination.

In get to simulate the glittering sunshine on the water, he and his workforce employed black slippery pebbles that would replicate daylight relatively than build an genuine pond in the backyard.

It skillfully mimics the sense of a waterside environment without working with even a fall of drinking water, accompanied by the sporadic croaking of frogs.

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

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng


The summer season months are the most effective occasions for a take a look at. The white, yellow, and purple bouquets that are identified in Monet’s paintings, can be viewed peeking out from among the ropes, although bamboo trees, an historical Chinese image for integrity, are in the heart of the yard.

“And you begin to dilemma specifically where by you are.”

Liu envisioned an ever-evolving point out for his yard, which is reflected not only in the levels of scenery but also in the precise structure. The hemp ropes pretty much shrink on wet days before loosening up right after drying.

He claimed that it was a apparent illustration of “resilience idea” in style and design.

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

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

A bird’s-eye view of the back garden

Resilience, which has its roots in physics, refers to an object’s potential to get back its measurement and condition following deformation. Later on, it was integrated into city scheduling and architecture.

He argued that resilience in cities refers to the skill to resume common dwelling and working situations in the confront of crises and all-natural disasters. “For occasion, did Shanghai have a perfectly-designed source chain to protected materials when it went into lockdown all through the most current COVID-19 outbreak?

“Will it be ready to rapidly resume generation?”

Liu recognized the Illimité Architectes agency in Shanghai in 2018, and opened an office environment in Paris in 2021.

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

Courtesy of Liu Xiangcheng

Visitors wander in the backyard garden.

The “Garden of Illusion” is his most recent experiment. It is very low-carbon and environmentally helpful, with 78 per cent environmentally friendly protection and domestically sourced timber and hemp ropes.

The team invited large university students to be part of in the backyard-developing system, which is a further critical part of citizens’ participation in the “resilient town” system. “Every citizen is the two a consumer and a participant. To make sure that a town undertaking is sustainable and supports its users, they are inspired to work alongside one another with neighborhood govt, genuine estate builders, economists, and environmentalists, amongst others,” Liu stated.

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