When I was in Chicago in August, speaking at IGC about landscape designers and their potential relationships with garden centers I took a day before and a day after to explore the city and meet up with friends. I’ve been to Chicago regularly over the past five years and have seen and written about its wonderful gardens and street plantings, but this time I went in search of something else. Architecture.
Chicago reinvented itself after the great fire in 1871, and many of architecture’s greatest design minds have lived or worked in the city. Three who formed the basis of the way we think about buildings now – Henry Richardson, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright experimented in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
I was somewhat surprised to see that Sullivan’s Carson, Pirie, Scott building is now a Target, but given that company’s commitment to design it made sense.
I met up with landscape designer, Helen Weiss and her daughter, for an evening and went on an Art Deco walking tour. I was surprised to be thinking about how the interlocking and sleek geometry of that style could be re-interpreted as garden designs. Not literally–but as contemporary planting schemes or path layouts or even as ways to prune and hedge. I am sure something from this inspiration it will surface as I work through design ideas I’ve been experimenting with. It’s all a part of the process.