A GARDEN FOR THE SOUL
Interview with Lorenzo Bar, who designed the garden of the Agriturismo Marcarini
“A garden does not last forever—it’s not a building, but a living thing that changes with time and with the seasons. In every moment of the year it has a unique beauty, a soul that the gardener must gather and give in a form that people can immerse themselves in when they visit the garden. Even in the autumn and winter, a garden is beautiful.”
These are the words of Lorenzo Bar, landscape architect, surveyor, topographer, and director of the Italian Bamboo Association. But he is also environmentally conscious and works with the Terra di Langa project with its agriturismo, educational farm, bio-architecture workshop, and…space for the soul. For Lorenzo Bar, “Architecture shouldn’t just occupy space, but create it.” And it should create a tie to those who live in it, leaving a message that frees the emotions, not boxes them in.
Lorenzo Bar is the designer of Agriturismo Marcarini’s garden. It is a space that could have seemed like an afterthought, located as it is behind the agriturismo, but Bar brought it to life through his attention to detail and, above all, to the spiritual dimension of hospitality.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
I’ve always been an eclectic person, a citizen of the world. After earning my surveyor’s diploma, I did a thousand different jobs to pay for my studies: construction worker, tile laying, tinsmith. My true passion, though, was topography and plants. Today I define myself as working in “landscaping relations.” I’ve traveled all over the world to study gardens and parks and to understand the message that they were telling.
WHAT WAS THE MESSAGE?
That everything around us is alive and vital. That nature speaks, and we can speak to it. I’ll give you an example. When I created Giardini d’Anima (Gardens of the Soul) in occasion of the national Garden Festival in 1997, I wanted visitors to play an active role. I gave them the possibility to write their thoughts after being in the garden. The first message I received was heartbreaking. It read, “Please, let me heal.” I had created a relationship.
HOW DID YOU WORK ON THE GARDEN OF AGRITURISMO MARCARINI?
First of all, I worked on the harmony and the Golden Ratio. I base all my work on these two ideas. The Golden Ratio, which has three millennia of history behind it, is the number with which nature designs everything. My work is not just theoretical. I paid a lot of attention to the context. I recovered Langhe stone that emerges in different points around the agriturismo. I laid the stone in a spontaneous way, not artificially, so that it would resemble a natural arrangement like a break in the soil revealing an ancient marine bed that gave origin to the Langhe. One large stone was placed so that it emerges from the wooden boards where the jacuzzi is, as though the architectural space was modeled around nature and not by human hand. And the arrangement of the other stones recalls ancient farmhouse walls, with nichesLa pietra di langa attorno a cui è stata costrita la pavimentazione in legno
IN WHAT WAY?
I arranged the elements of the garden like an embrace—not just in width, but also in height. As though to say: in this place, nature comes to meet you and gather you in its embrace. I also sought to preserve the natural cave, which because a point of strength of the garden and one of its most enchanting angles.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE GARDEN OF THE AGRITURISMO MARCARINI?
An empathetic connection. The people who visit and walk through the gardens will experience the kindness, hospitality, cheerfulness, and sincerity of the Marcarini family and of Chiara Marchetti, who manages the agriturismo—it’s a family that knows how to make its guests feel welcome