Floor Works, Agence TER Landscape Architects, Geneva, Switzerland.
Geneva is the second most crowded city in Switzerland and is often described as a modern concrete jungle. This urban center is densely populated, and the need for more green spaces is often felt. A project developed by Agence TER Landscape Architects was a finalist for the European Garden Award in 2013.
The name of the project is “Floor Works” and it concerned the development of an urban garden. The project was commissioned by a private company, SPG, and it demonstrated that a green space can be perfectly integrated within concrete and other urban elements.
Floor Works – The Future of Urban Gardening Brought into the Present
In simple terms, Floor Works is an urban garden. Even though it has been created around the main offices of a Genevan company, the garden has public access so that everyone can enjoy it. The company’s building is also unique, being adorned with some of the most beautiful works of present-day painters (Wall Works project).
This urban garden is a genuinely miraculous space, being the direct result of hard work, talent, and imagination. The space has received a complete makeover, the process being based on simple gardening techniques. The blend between living and non-living materials is exquisite; even though the project has included functional elements, these are not the center of attention. On the contrary, the living parts of the urban garden are the ones drawing the majority of the attention.
COR-TEN Steel: Beautifully Blended Among Living Materials
You might not expect that an inert material such as COR-TEN steel will blend in with living materials, but the truth is that the result is more than impressive. The manipulation of the steel is so ingeniously made that one feels this is how art should always look.
The red steel has been used to create the entire floor of the garden, being arranged in consecutive strips for an enhanced effect. The interesting thing is that the steel has gone through a complex bending/twisting process, resulting in the most interesting shapes one has ever encountered in an urban garden. Basically, the margin of each steel strip has been modified into a shape. These have been used as structures of support for plants and also as seating arrangements for garden visitors.
Nature Brought to the Urban Jungle
This project delivers a balanced combination between technical elements and nature. The living part of the landscape is integrated within the industrial material, being comprised of a wide variety of plants. There are elegant-looking ferns, delicately cut grasses, and beautiful perennial plants. The urban garden is adorned with high-reaching trees on each margin, creating the impression of a real — not urban — jungle. The tall trees come to complete the already luscious and leafy, green-filled landscape.
What Makes Floor Works Unique?
There have been other urban garden projects before, but none as fascinating as Floor Works. What makes it unique? The answer is simple. With a talented team of landscape architects behind the project, it should come as no surprise that the element of uniqueness is given by the intelligent choice of elements to mix. The combination between living plants and red steel is bold to say the least, but it works really well. Add to that the elegant slate, not to mention the state-of-the-art installations for light and water, and you have one of the most beautiful urban jungles ever seen.
Even though the urban garden has been created to surround the new offices of SPG, its beauty has already attracted an impressive number of visitors. They all enjoy walking on the paths shaped by the COR-TEN steel strips and taking in all the fresh air that the plants deliver on the spot. There are sculptures to be admired as well, appealing to each person’s sense of beauty. No matter where a person turns, there is greenery to be seen, felt, and experienced. Perhaps what makes this urban garden even more unique is the spray mist installation; this definitely contributes to the feeling that one has entered an urban jungle.
In conclusion, Floor Works is an urban garden that stands as proof that nature can be successfully mixed with industrial objects. As a matter of fact, by taking some time to look at all the elements, one can easily observe that the red color of the COR-TEN steel actually enriches the natural green landscape.