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#26 Between buildings: Landscape, Public space, Environment

Back to basics

Why the talk is inspiring?

Irene Djao-Rakitine will talk about her design approach to landscape architecture, from masterplan projects to product design, in a context of climate change and overconsumption.

Together and in parallel to the studio’s commercial projects, the team develops research projects on key elements of the public realm such as tree planting, drinking fountains and public benches; the studio also develops a large prospective project for the city of Paris which aims at mitigating urban heat, flooding issues and air pollution as well as enhancing biodiversity.

Irene will attempt to describe the philosophical approach of these proposals along with the pragmatic and creative aspects of their design process.



Irene Djao-Rakitine

How the speaker is exceptional?

Irene Djao-Rakitine graduated from the National School of Applied Arts (ENSAA) in Paris in 2001 and from the National School of Landscape Architecture (ENSP) in Versailles in 2005. She is also a chartered member of the Landscape Institute in the UK. Between 2006 and 2009 she was Head of Landscape Department at Ateliers Jean Nouvel in Paris, and then between 2009 and 2015, Head of Vogt London.

Her collaboration with Jean Nouvel gave her a wide range of international experience developing landscape designs for projects such as the Paris Philharmonic Hall and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

At Vogt London, Irene oversaw the design development of the London 2012 Athletes Village public realm project. She was also part of the team in charge of developing the Olympic Legacy Framework for the London Legacy Development Corporation. Amongst other projects, she oversaw the Tate Modern public realm.

In February 2015, she founded her own practice. Since then she has been continuing her work on high-profile private and public projects worldwide: cultural, commercial and residential. The studio develops various scales of design, from product design to masterplanning. Irene’s work includes public realm projects in London (Duke street redevelopment, Snowsfields and Bermondsey public realm), Paris, Moscow (Khokhlovskaya Square, Boulevard Ring), Luxembourg (Ban de Gasperich masterplan) and large-scale landscape projects for private developers in Slovenia, Russia, China and Vietnam. She was visiting critic to the London Mayor’s Project Review Panel in 2013–16 and a researcher at the ETH Zurich in 2015–16.

Since 2017, she’s been one of the London Mayor’s Design Advocates to support the Mayor’s Good Growth by Design plan.


The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight Into Beauty

Yanagi Sōetsu

Why the book is worth reading?

Yanagi Sōetsu reveals beauty in everyday ordinary and utilitarian objects created by nameless and unknown craftsmen. As landscape architects, we tend to develop projects that ‘look natural’ and that most people never notice; as if trees were spontaneously growing in urban contexts, for instance. Also, a successful landscape design is without ostentatious signature and quietly contributes to creating, revealing or respecting an enjoyable environment.