james van sweden's latest book
For months I've had a book on landscape architecture sitting patiently on my desk, waiting until I had time to take a look. That day has finally arrived, and I wanted to report back on my findings. The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design, by James van Sweden and Tom Christopher, is a meditation on the relationship between art and landscape design. As one of the country's pre-eminent landscape architects, van Sweden is certainly an expert on this topic, and he writes about it in an approachable, informative manner (with the help of Christopher, a garden writer). Interviews with and anecdotes from artists in varying fields, such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, sculptor Grace Knowlton, and textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, complement sections devoted to some of van Sweden's landscape architect peers, like Martha Schwartz and Piet Oudolf. Images of projects by van Sweden and his partners at Oehme, van Sweden & Associates mingle with photos of other landscape architecture projects and artworks that illustrate his points. Throughout the book he and Christopher stay on their convincing message, which is that cross-pollination with other creative fields is essential to good landscape design.--m.d.