Palmstead Workshop 2012 & Eelco Hooftman

image courtesy of Vikki Rimmer,

I was so impressed with the Palmstead Workshop I attended last week, I couldn’t fit it all in one post!

Whilst I was inspired and entertained by the talks given by renowned designers Sarah Eberle and James Alexander-Sinclair, as a fellow landscape architect, my favourite speaker of the day was Eelco Hooftman ex. Gross Max.

Having met Eelco before as the external examiner for my MA in landscape architecture I was a little trepidatious, but he excelled all my expectations with a fascinating insight into his own design process. Working alongside Zaha Hadid on many projects his landscape has had to be as exemplary as her architecture and it is this synergy which has cemented his success.

His designs reflect ‘a choreography of movement through time and space’ in which the ‘public realm of the senses’ intensifies the experience. Collaborating with other professionals, such as Piet Oudolf, he utilises the theatre of plants to achieve the desired effect  as can be seen in Potters Fields Park, London.

On the subject of ecology he voiced what we have all been thinking, that we have been suffering from attacks by the ‘Ecological Taliban’ terrified of specifying or planting non-native species and as such he ended his presentation with a credo for all aspiring designers,  ‘ We don’t believe in Nature Conservation, we believe in Nature Activation!’