Piet Oudolf, the internationally-renowned landscape designer from the Netherlands, has designed the landscaping scheme for the new Hauser & Wirth Somerset Gallery at Durslade Farm on the edge of the town of Bruton. Initially built as a ‘model farm’, it sits within 100 acres of fields and woodland. The Farmhouse and outbuildings at Durslade were used during the filming of ‘Chocolat’ (2000), starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche and Dame Judi Dench.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset is a pioneering world-class gallery and multi-purpose arts centre, which acts as a destination for experiencing art, architecture and the remarkable Somerset landscape through new and innovative exhibitions of contemporary art. Hauser & Wirth Somerset supports an immersive artist-in-residence programme, encouraging artists to benefit from the idyllic surroundings and to integrate with the local community. The project is designed around several renovated listed historical buildings as well as two new purpose built galleries, developed by Luis Laplace of Laplace architects who has worked closely with the gallery and artists on a number of previous projects. On-site restaurant, the Roth Bar & Grill, serves seasonal, locally sourced produce, and includes a site-specific bar created by Björn and Oddur Roth, the son and grandson of artist Dieter Roth. The specially commissioned bar is a tribute to Björn’s late father and is comprised of scavenged materials – a central motif throughout Dieter Roth’s work.
Piet Oudolf has designed the landscaping scheme for the entire site, including Oudolf Field – a large perennial meadow to the north of the farmyard and new gallery buildings. Encompassing the 1.5 acre meadow, Oudolf’s garden contains over 26,000 herbaceous perennials.
Planting Design for the Perennial Garden at Durslade Farm /September, 2012 / Coloured pen, pencil and pen on tracing paper / 74 x 163.5 cm / 29 1/8 x 64 3/8 in
Carefully shaped and planted, the garden echoes the tradition of classical gardens, but the variety of species and combination of plants creates a looseness, softening the formality of its appearance. Wide canopied trees have been planted between the gallery and garden to frame the view of the garden for visitors as they leave the buildings. The surrounding hedges provide a sense of enclosure, whilst the views of the hills and fields beyond remain visible. A series of paths cut through the vegetation, inviting visitors to wander through the garden. Oudolf’s landscaping design continues around the buildings including the inner cloister courtyard, where the old buildings meet the new.
Oudolf is a leading figure in the New Perennial movement; his projects are characterised by a strong pictorial relationship to a garden’s composition and layout. Inspired by art, nature and time, Oudolf’s gardens are achieved through areas of naturalistic planting, using swathes of perennials and grasses combined with structured pathways, shrubs and trees. At the heart of Oudolf’s garden designs lies an intimate knowledge of plants, and careful consideration of how plants relate to one another and behave in different situations.
2014 proved a particularly ripe year for Oudolf who was crowned with Icon’s highest accolade, Icon of the Year.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset is open with free admission to the public, six days per week, throughout the year.