When Nicolas Soulier (the architect) and Cécile Daladier (the ceramicist) started their entryway garden, they were looking for the rain, the wind, and the sky in between Paris' seven-story buildings.
The couple, who collaborate under the name Assaï, designed the garden with a mix of zinc mirror ponds to reflect the sunlight shining though the building's light well. Soulier and Daladier take a laissez-faire approach to gardening, to observe and live with the processes of nature. The garden area is constantly in flux, changing each season and according to their needs. The project all started when the couple learned their roof had to be redone, so they designed it to be "something pretty for the neighbors to look at." With only 11 inches of soil depth and very little sunlight, they needed to recreate an alpine environment. With a mix of alpine plants from the south of France, Japanese anemones, asters, hellebores, rose bushes, maples, and wild buddleia (to bring out the butterflies), their garden is a balance of wild herbs, grasses, and architectural rocks.
Since they began the project, the garden has won first prize in Austria's international contest Die besten Gärten (Best Private Plots) in 2006, served as a showroom for Assaï, and provided flowers for Daladier's vases year round. See our post on Remodelista: Ceramics by the Kilo: Hand-Formed Vases for Instant Bouquets.
Above: The vertical space is built out with zinc window boxes against windowsills and suspended from branches with steel frames and removable chestnut planks. Soulier and Daladier began using Végétalisation des Toitures as their guide for selecting plant variety in the entry and on the roof.
Above: On the left are two iron Assaï Capteurs (collectors) and a Jardin Miroir (Mirror Garden) to collect rainwater and reflect the sky.
Above: A glimpse onto the street in Paris' 14th arrondissement from Soulier and Daladier's rooftop.
Above: The entryway and rooftop gardens were both planted with a casual gardening philosophy and because of the lack of sun and shallow soil, the couple appreciates a mix of wild herbs, weeds, and climbing ivy.
Above: The Jardin Miroir creates a dreamy effect agaisnt a palette of dark green.
Above: Summer afternoons are filled with hazy sunlight; here is the back entry to the house.
Above: The perfect portrait of an artist and architect's garden: varying heights of iron and wood shelving, and a blend of flowers suitable for Daladier's ceramics.