Spring will soon be here, and in Provence like elsewhere we yearn to enjoy our balconies and gardens. This is where Claire Delahaye comes in, the founder of Slowgarden, a company that decorates your home’s extra room. A graduate of the Duperré School of Applied Arts, Claire explored during her studies, “landscaping, decoration, color, space design (…) I’m not a landscape architect, but rather an exterior decorator. At Slowgarden, we think about the space where we intervene in its totality.” An approach that combines an understanding of the space and its function, of decoration and landscape. For the botanical component, Claire has gained her expertise on the ground: “I picked up my knowledge of plants on the job, I really learnt from the producers.” In a region like Provence, we can only imagine the pleasure of discovering and placing nature’s little treasures!
Claire Delahaye works for private clients but also responds to requests from stores or hotels to enhance their outdoor spaces or vegetation within their interior architecture. This is the case for the Marseille address of Louis Vuitton that commissioned Slowgarden to decorate the terrace around the theme of Mediterranean varieties with notably the introduction of Osmanthus, a plant with the perfume of a citrus candy. Claire is also the designer of green spaces for the HiPark apartment building in Marseille, and soon Nice. But Claire admits liking private gardens, “you can make them your own, create more intimate spaces than public spaces which engender more constraints and a rigid and perfectly readable result.”
When we mention the Slowgarden style, Claire smiles: “At the beginning we didn’t really have a style but gradually we realized that there were recurrent actions, signatures, that contribute to the development of a Slowgarden identity!” Among these actions are drawing on walls, or favoring a brightly colored wall.
Before beginning a project, Claire visits the site to get a feel for the interior style in order to imagine the exterior accordingly. “There is rarely a rupture between the interior and the exterior. It’s a true continuation. I believe the exterior is a scene that is appreciated from inside.” Slowgarden takes care of everything, from the space to the choice of the plants, the furniture and objects, as well as the lighting.
Slowgarden’s vision is of a contemporary Mediterranean garden composed of local varieties produced on the French Riviera or coming from Italy. These must last, conserve water and live in perfect harmony with the climate. The wind is one of the first elements that determines the choice of the variety. These are Mediterranean: for the trees we find Olive trees, Mimosa, Magnolia, Citrus, Almond and Fig trees… As for hedges, necessary for protecting terraces from the wind and prying eyes, Pelagnus, Calistemone, Yuka, Broom. “We are inspired by our walks in the great outdoors, in the Marseille Calanques or coves for example.”
As for perfume, odors have a special place in Slowgarden’s work. “Depending on the activity, lying down for a nap, or sitting around a table for lunch, we choose one or two perfumed plants, Pittosporum, close to the Mexican orange tree, smells like orange flower, or Elaeagnus that produces lots of tiny little flowers with a sweet perfume. A recurrent plant in our interventions is Star Jasmine, climbing and evergreen, it keeps its leaves all year.” Such beautiful perspectives on the horizon for your terraces!
Slowgarden, design terrasses et jardins