Shaving shrubs into impossible shapes, blending greenery with metal, masonry, and robots, Oddtoe is an extreme topiarist, a creative botanist and landscape designer — all-in-one.
Central to his art practice, Oddtoe’s topiary garden designs incorporate sculpture and lighting into unique landscapes to achieve an awe-inspiring, ‘I haven’t seen this before’ effect.
“I think uniqueness is important. I’m not here to create a rip-off Versailles garden. To me, an Oddtoe garden is whole new experience, getting as many senses as possible — sight, sound, smell — on their tippy-toes and begging to know what’s around the next tree.”
I see gardens as immersive experiences. If I had to label or categorise the landscapes I like to design, three distinct types come to my mind: Zen, steampunk, and psychedelic.
Topiary and a Future for Zen Gardens
World-class resorts around the world are looking for points of difference for their gardens. Increasingly, these resorts are locations where their guests can wander, get lost (both physically and mentally), and can unwind. Zen gardens, if you will. Zen gardens can be quirky. Meditate with humour, I say. My favourite ingredients for a meditative space are plants, light, sound, and creatures (still or kenetic sculptures). The full sensory packet, but designed in a beautifully subtle way.
Zen gardens are designed to mollify the mind. Here, auditory design becomes a key ingredient in my practice. Waterfalls, natural sounds — putting together a soundtrack for a garden experience is such a joy for a sensory designer.
The Landscape Design Process for a Top Topiarist
Whether it’s for a museum piece, a holiday resort, or for private garden, Oddtoe creates innovative landscapes using the same creative process he devised for graphic design, data visualisation, and 3d illustration. Visual research followed by sketch work then a phase he calls “doubtful cliff jumps”. “I ask myself how I can push the envelope in a particular field. I may not use a particular plant or design – it may be impossible. But I need to imagine something, however implausible. If it’s to In landscape design, for me, topiary starts it off. I think in shapes. Ways to create a moment of intrigue in what’s being seen and experienced. A good topiarist knows geometry. A great topiarist know psychology!”
The Case for Extreme Topiary in the Age of Social Media
” In the age of social media, holiday resorts, museums, city gardens, and large-scale real estate developments are all looking for that extra edge, a visual something that gets a visitor to take that smartphone out of their pocket and snap a picture. A beautiful, but uncannily unfamilar garden design is one way to attract an audience and through their images cut through the visual noise brands are competing against on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
A Topiarist for Private Garden Design
Whether it’s for a country house or an urban space, an Oddtoe garden experience can activate a plot of land into a three-dimensional, organic piece of art. With Oddtoe, plant science can be combined with data science; digital art can be projected upon a gorgeous landscape. To achieve something unique for your property, think of a garden experience designer who works in botany, industrial fabrication, lighting, and digital arts.