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Landscape Architect Visit: Jacqueline Morabito on the French Riviera

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Landscape Architect Visit: Jacqueline Morabito on the French Riviera

June 9, 2014

Received wisdom says: Find your talent and stick to it. You cannot do lots of things well. But what about Jacqueline Morabito, designer of interiors and objects, from jewelry to lighting? Surely she can’t be a genius garden designer, too? She can. We visit her olive grove garden in Provence:

Photography by Clive Nichols.

Above: The Grove, Jacqueline Morabito’s retreat, lies on the French Riviera just north of Nice. The garden’s layout is a response to the terrain that was there when she found it: terraces of olive trees. The walls and the trees stayed as signs of habitation were carefully added. Angular structures, such as this dining shelter, fit in with the angular terraces, and nothing looks too new.

Above: A white cube house can be dropped into this landscape without looking too bright because the whitewash is allowed to age. The building’s off-white color echoes the local limestone; its angles rub up against the unpredictable shapes of nature.

Above: Straight white walls emerge from clipped, rounded green. The singular shapes of olive trees lend some silver and black.

Above: Ah, the canvas and steel butterfly chair. Do we need anything else?

Above: The swimming pool slotted into the terrace adds its rectangular shape to the other manmade rectangles. The effect is elegant utilitarian.

Above: The narrow pool is lined with gray concrete to avoid swimming-pool-turquoise–and to better reflect the changing color of the sky through the seasons.

Above: Stone circle, wooden-plank trestle table. The eating areas are fluid; it’s more of an adventure to pick up the table and move somewhere different every day. With so many trees, you always can find the right degree of light and shadow.

Above: The old-grove vernacular of stone walls and straight rows of olive trees echoes the parallels of the house, pool, and sheltered dining area. The low walls resemble house foundations. There is an intriguing interplay here between ancient and modern, the former looking more linear than usual and the latter more scruffed up.

For more Provení§al clippings, see: A Magical Garden Where Clouds Grow on a Hillside in Provence and, on Remodelista, A Week in Provence. Traveling to France this summer? Plan your itinerary with help from our City Guide: France.

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