The Museum of Finnish Architecture and Design Museum join forces for a collaborative exhibition that explores the shapes and significance of gardens across different times and places. The Garden Futures exhibition also beckons visitors to discover Finnish suburban nature and allotment gardens.
THE MUSEUM OF FINNISH ARCHITECTURE and Design Museum have united for their first-ever joint exhibition. Garden Futures: Designing with Nature is a touring exhibition curated by Vitra Design Museum, Wüstenrot Foundation, and Nieuwe Instituut, with Helsinki having the honor of being its first stop on the tour.
The exhibition is divided into four thematic sections: Paradise, Garden Politics, World as a Garden and The Garden: A Testing Ground.
The exhibition architecture is designed by the Italian studio Formafantasma, also known for their collaboration with Artek.
The Garden Futures exhibition paints a picture of gardens as reflections of the ideals and dreams of their time: gardens have always mirrored not only the aesthetic preferences of each era but also the values and pursuits of the surrounding society. A media installation delving into this theme offers glimpses into the gardens designed by the likes of Alvar Aalto, Luis Barragán, and Barbara Stauffacher-Solomon.
For a long time, gardens were perceived as havens and romantic escapes from the wild nature for humans. However, in today’s world, with human influence reaching every corner of the globe, the situation has reversed. Who actually needs protection and from whom, asks the exhibition.
Gardens can also lead us to unexpected political questions. Exploring these themes are, among others, Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, emphasizing the significance of native plants, and American writer and gardener Jamaica Kincaid. Through gardens, Kincaid delves into topics like colonial history and cultural appropriation.
Gardens provide an opportunity to explore new ways of sustainable interaction between humans and the rest of nature.
Beyond reflecting societal values, gardens and garden design also serve as testing grounds for new ideas. Gardens thus provide an opportunity to explore new ways of sustainable interaction between humans and the rest of nature – possibly even solutions to global crises such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
While the Garden Futures exhibition is a German-Dutch collaboration, examples relevant to Finland have also been included in the Helsinki exhibition.
Garden designer Elisabeth Koch’s allotment gardens, as well as suburban gardens by landscape architect Maj-Lis Rosenbröijer and landscape architect Leena Iisakkila provide a local perspective on the topic. Additionally, the exhibition features works by Finnish ceramic artist Birger Kaipiainen, known for his lush garden-themed pieces.
The Museum of Finnish Architecture also hosts the Allotment Garden, a space designed for museum guests to explore and unwind, as well as participate in events throughout the exhibition. The space can be also booked for grassroots-level activities related to garden themes.
The exhibition Garden Futures: Designing with Nature will be on display at the Museum of Finnish Architecture and Design Museum in Helsinki until March 31, 2024.
Edit: Nora Uotila