Roberto Silva is a landscape Architect and garden designer working in London since 1998.
NATURAL RECALL INTERVIEW
What do you do every day to express your elective affinity with nature, with the plants in your balcony, with flowers that grows in your terrace in your garden?
I actually do not own any garden, like Russell Page, I am too busy creating and looking after gardens for my clients. Nevertheless, I express my affinity to nature by creating an environment for the plants to grow, it is inside my mind before anywhere else that they start to grow and blossom. In this abstract realm I visualize the whole picture, how they go together and what are their roles, shape, scent and ultimate height which one will have in the landscape.
I love feeling nature in the form of plants inside me, it is this subjective interiority that I can find their meaning; it is in their holographic nature that they can be first contacted. They are free as the infinity mind. They can be any colour and can have any shape: the orange of the cannas, the architectural shape of the Acers, the feathery leaves of the ferns and the romance of the pink flowers of the cherries.
Then, the whole concept comes into being; the plants are brought into places and planted with care and nurture with their particular requirements. I see them thriving and growing, and in my visits, I prune and enhance their beauty.
What plant do you like most? Why do you feel so attached to it?
One of the plants I like most is called Myrciaria cauliflora. It is one of the plants that have the most exquisite beauty, with a very strong architectural shape and fruits that cover the whole trunk and stems. Usually, fruits in the trees are loose and hang at the end of the stem In this particular tree, the fruits are attached to the trunk itself. The fruits are juicy, sensual and delicious and the plant itself can be also used as focal point for its sculptural qualities in the gardens or landscapes. I love them as they have been very present in my childhood in my father’s farm in the northeast of Brazil.As a child discovering the joy of nature, I could not wait for them to fruit and I carefully climbed the whole tree picking, eating and tasting the flavour of heaven
You are leaving to a desert island and you can take with you two things and a plant, what would you put in your suitcase?
If I imagine the Island to be warm and hot, I would take one short and a pair of sandals. I would also take with me a mango tree (mangifera indica) for its sensuous and nutritious qualities, This is also as one of the most present fruit trees during my childhood
Roberto Silva is a landscape Architect and garden designer working in London since 1998. His work is always defined by a strong concept, cross fertilizing ideas from art, land art, fashion and other media. His Gardens are like a sculpture to walk instead of a picture to see, mixing traditional materials with modern lay out, and not using much ornamentation. The planting is bold and architectural giving more attention to texture as they are the bones of the garden.
Born in Pernambuco in Northern Brazil, Roberto Silva spent his childhood weekends on his father’s farm. “I was surrounded by nature and learned to love plants from an early age”, he says. This led to his decision to study agronomy when he left school and he spent the next five years learning about crops and soil science.
At the end of the course, however, Roberto decided that farming wasn’t for him- “I wanted to be more creative”-and he took himself to off to Sao Paulo to do a year’s specialization in landscape architecture. During the year, he discovered the work of Roberto Burle Marx, and became fixated with it, visiting every garden he’d designed in the area. Subsequently, he remained in Sao Paulo to work for a company specialized in garden restoration, but had to go back home when his father became ill. This was when his career took an unexpected turn.” I wanted to be near my parents during my father’s illness, so I opened a cosmetic shop with my mother”, he says. He juggled this with being a farm manager.
Two years later, in 1992, he was on his way to Britain, with the intention of becoming a garden designer set firmly in his mind. But first he had some more studying to do. Learning English was a priority, and Roberto also wanted to develop his knowledge of plants and garden design. Between 1995-1996 he studied horticulture and Landscape design at Capel manor, working part-time in the Fulham Palace Garden Centre. As if he hadn’t taken enough exams already, in 1997 he started a three-year MA course in landscape design at the University of Greenwich, managing to find time in between to start his own design company. Today Roberto business is thriving. Most of his commissions are in London, but he hopes to expand his business by designing gardens in Brazil.
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LANDSCAPE AND GARDEN DESIGN