Prize for landscape creation at the "Jardins, Jardin" fair in 2012, Thierry Dalcant has become in less than five years a benchmark in his field. With the agency Perceptions, he imagines the patios and the courtyard of the Chloé boutique, rue Saint-Honoré or the restaurant terrace at the Palais de Tokyo, Monsieur Bleu. Recently, he signed the development of the roof of the very popular Molitor swimming pool, an urban garden full of dreams and sweetness. Explanations.
Tell us about your background…
I worked twenty years in the fashion world. I collaborated with fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Nina Ricci… I even made a brief stopover at Jean Paul Gaultier, but which didn't really count. It was a real passion, and it still is, just at one point I wanted to explore something else. The acquisition of a house in the countryside allowed me to find memories of childhood, and made me aware of this desire for a garden, of contact with the land. In Paris, we forget and we move away from the plant. I then started training at the National Landscape School in Versailles. Graduated in 2009, I started freelance on small projects for individuals. And in 2012, I joined François Chotte and his agency Perceptions. Since then, I have been the artistic director of this structure for which I manage all the landscaping projects.
But how do you go from stylist to landscaper?
With fashion, I have developed a sensitivity to colors and volumes. There, I express it in a completely different way but without denying my achievements. The idea was to naturally switch from an object to a space to then define and transform it. This was what was destabilizing at the start! But the conversion was done very quickly. Through atmospheres, materials, I found the same sensations. We can finally consider fashion and the garden as two parallel universes in which we can easily bounce back.
Do you have a secret to always being fair in your achievements?
At Perceptions, we are a laboratory of ideas, always in the proposition, in innovation. But more often than not it is the site itself that defines the project. Each space is particular, it is then necessary to reveal its potential. But beyond a simple consultancy agency, we try as much as possible to take charge of our missions at 100%, from design to technical finality so as to guarantee a good realization. In Molitor, for example, I got my hands on the ground. This is what makes the richness of this profession. To be able to concretize a work, beyond paper, a way to close the loop. In fashion, it's the same principle, you go from simple drawing to fashion show. And in the garden, it is just as important to carry out your project, to bring it another dimension.
Precisely how did you think of Molitor's project?
The landscaped landscaping of the roof top of this swimming pool, a legendary and very characteristic place from the 1930s, is articulated in two spaces. First, we had to organize an outdoor kitchen, a place of sharing accompanied by an aromatic bar. I then designed real vegetable shelves in which we pick some herbs to decorate a cooking of meat or fish at the last minute. Then, there is a real roof garden where I housed two private lounges. The concept is part of a plant topography which results from the planting of plants in superimposed and custom-made containers. Perennial plants, small shrubs, I have composed a mini biodiversity so that customers are as close as possible to plants and thus a real garden imbued with a certain mixture and a poetry that distances it from the classic terrace.
Finally, what is the key to combining design and plants?
The idea is to get out of the pure register of the garden. I don't limit myself to horticultural production. Each time I try to transport the place into a more dreamlike universe. And in a space where the architecture can be severe, the fluidity of the plant brings softness. And the mixture of several areas necessarily gives more character to the garden. Obviously, I define myself above all as a landscaper, but I happen to be a designer on certain projects, such as that of Molitor where I entirely designed the bar and these famous aromatic shelves. But I especially like to say that I am designing the plant. I work alive but it is the garden which takes possession of the place and not the reverse. This is what must be remembered from my work: plants feed all my projects. Discover all of Thierry Dalcant's work on his website: www.thierrydalcant.com