lausanne jardins 2019


This summer, Lausanne welcomes landscaper-gardener Gilles Clément and his travelling exhibition Gilles Clément: Toujours la vie invente ("Gilles Clément: Life's continuous invention") to the beautiful oval orangery in Bourdonnette, on the site of the Department of Parks and Gardens which maintains the city’s gardens and forests.

Primarily a gardener but also an artist, botanist, traveller and writer, Clément invites you for a long walk through his gardens, among his writings, drawings, pastels, pictures, and objects that he has found or manufactured. The story of his gardening adventures follows three major stages which make up the main chapters of the exhibition:

– The Garden in Motion: A management method that fosters plant diversity, and a perception of our relationship with nature based on “making the most of, and doing the least against it”.

– The Planetary Garden: An assessment of the finiteness of life and the limits of the biosphere; the concept seeks to remind men and women (protectors of a life that has become rare and fragile) of their role as gardeners.

– The Third-Landscape: An “undetermined” fragment of the planetary garden, made up of neglected sites. These abandoned sites host biological diversity which to this day, remains unrecognised in terms of its richness.

Based on the observation of gardens, now a practical philosophy of the living, Clément’s thought leads to action, many aspects of which are introduced in the exhibition.

On the educational side, Planetary Garden schools have begun to emerge. On the political side, Clément has developed the practice of reclaiming grounds, i.e. returning neglected private grounds and public spaces (which host great biodiversity and represent real treasure troves since the future of humanity depends on our planet’s biodiversity) to the public.

In the exhibition, Clément also offers:
- An incursion into his cabinet of wonders.
- An introduction to “involuntary art”.
- The discovery of the unusual in “Nature à lire”.

He also adds his “Alphabet Book”, in which he offers up the definitions and libertarian reflections of a smiling humanist.

Gilles Clément, Domaine du Rayol, Var
Gilles Clément, Gardens at the Quai Branly Museum, Paris

Gilles Clément, gardener

Horticultural engineer, landscaper, entomologist, writer, gardener and teacher, Gilles Clément learned about the richness of wasteland, the pointlessness of seeking total control over nature and the point of supporting rather than coercing it, in his own garden in Creuse, France. He has travelled through five continents to watch, learn about, and plan gardens, as well as write books. His reflections on how to exploit the planet’s diversity without destroying it are drawn from his experience. Thanks to his approach and philosophy, expressed in books and through gardens, he has gained international exposure. A storyteller as well as a man of action, Clément provides a wide overview of his works in his travelling exhibition “Toujours la vie invente”, displayed throughout the summer in the orangery in Bourdonnette, on the site of the Department of Parks and Gardens of the City of Lausanne.

To learn more: Gilles Clément’s professional and academic career

Gilles Clément, Water Tower on the Watershed in Ardèche ©Nicolas Lelièvre


Design: Gilles Clément 

Curating for Lausanne: Lorette Coen 

Curating assistant: Florence Ineichen 

Scenography: Christophe Moreau with SPADOM employees 

Graphic design and Installation codirector: Mahaut Clément 

Installation assistant: Guillaume Morlans 

Project manager: Dominique Truco

Practical Information

Service des parcs et domaines de la ville de Lausanne (Department of Parks and Gardens for the City of Lausanne)  

Avenue du Chablais 46  

Easy access with the M1 metro, stop at Bourdonnette and follow the signage

Exhibition: 17/6 – 22/9/2019  

Opening hours: every day, Monday-Friday from 10:00 to 18:30, Saturday-Sunday from 14:00 to 18:00 

Official opening: 16/6/2019, from 11:00 

Car park: on site only on weekends

Press Kit

Download the press kit for the exhibition Gilles Clément: toujours la vie invente here

Gilles Clément, La Vallée, in Creuse ©Gilles Clément
Gilles Clément, La Vallée, in Creuse ©Gilles Clément


Lausanne Jardins 2019:  An Ode to Moles by Gilles Clément

Already present on the sides of “La Ficelle” for the 1st Lausanne Jardins Festival in 1997, Clément has created one of the gardens on the Lausanne Jardins 2019 route. His creation celebrates the mole, Talpa europea, the small, harmless mammal that is so useful to our soil and yet unfairly castigated and fought off, that helps short-cycle crops emerge thanks to its digging. Moles help preserve the threatened diversity of farmland, and Clément celebrates their contribution with a sundial in a wildflower setting in Parc Guillemin, Pully.

Gilles Clément Day in Lausanne   

The Cantonal Botanical Museum and Gardens, Archizoom | EPFL, the EPFL Sustainable Campus and Lausanne Jardins 2019 will organise a Gilles Clément Day on 27 August, with the gardener’s participation.

Exhibition partners: