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Speaker topics announced for SGD Spring Conference

Topics have been announced for the SGD Spring Conference on the 21st April 2018, where a distinguished line-up of top industry speakers from the USA, UK and Sweden, will explore the art of understatement in garden and landscape design. 

Sharing examples of their work to illustrate how landscapes can be crafted with minimal intervention, by drawing on a site’s natural features and embracing the wider landscape, speakers will guide delegates through their techniques and processes to help explain the creative thinking behind such an approach.

From the USA, Julie Bargmaan, world-renowned for her work regenerating neglected sites into renewed landscapes of ecological and cultural production, will address the topic ‘The Art of Restraint’, posing the question ‘why wouldn’t one always use a light touch?”.  Drawing on examples of her work from private gardens on industrial estates to large parks on degraded land, Julie will explain how her design methodology leads to a response that is not only site-specific but entirely site-dependent.conference

Also visiting from the States, American environmentalist and plantsman Rick Darke will use the topic ‘Design and Nature of Contradiction’ to explore design models informed by the art of observation, illustrating how his work blends ecology, horticulture and geography in the design and stewardship of living landscapes. Landscape architect Michael Vergason from Virginia, USA, will focus on the topic ‘Heavy Lifting / Light Touch’ to explain that a landscape that appears natural to the untrained eye often requires heavy lifting and surgical precision, and that in actuality the project is highly designed with careful, deliberate consideration to the balance of restoring ecological systems, fostering human experience and revealing the essence of the place.

From Sweden, acclaimed landscape architect Ulf Nordfjell will address the topic ‘Design based on Knowledge about the Past & Present crucially informs Site Potential’ exploring why knowledge about the past is essential to understanding the present of a site and its surroundings when suggesting design solutions, and explaining his methods for doing so. Referencing large public projects, Ulf will focus on how the concept can be used for small-scale private gardens.

Finally, from the UK, Dr Catherine Heatherington FSGD, has chosen the topic ‘The ‘Do Little’ Approach: revealing landscape change in post-industrial sites’ to discuss how landscape designers can approach the development of derelict, post-industrial landscapes and re-imagine them in more subtle ways, other than by sweeping everything away first, to create valued green spaces.   Catherine will draw on examples of all sizes and types and from as far afield as Austalia and the USA as well as projects closer to home.

The conference will be chaired by award-winning landscape designer Dan Lobb MSGD, whose own work, places environmental considerations at its heart, with material and plant choices ensuring local biodiversity is improved with each project.

Discounted ‘Early Bird’ tickets for the conference are available until 19th March 2018. Visit the SGD website to read more and book tickets online.

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