The Netherlands

West 8 urban design & landscape architecture b.v.

Nico Koomanskade 1021
3072 LM Rotterdam
The Netherlands

+31 (0) 10 485 5801


West 8 Brussels urban design & landscape architecture bvba

Waaienberg 123
1745 Opwijk

+31 (0) 10 485 5801

United States

West 8 urban design & landscape architecture p.c.

2133 Arch Street, Suite 101
Philadelphia, PA 19103
United States of America

+1 347 371 2252

Swamp Garden

In 1997, West 8 landscape architects were invited to design an installation for the Spoleto Art Festival, a yearly event since 1977, encompassing a large variety of performing and visual arts.

The festival is held in Charleston (USA), where the natural setting and the subtropical climate create a spectacular and diverse landscape consisting of the ocean, estuaries, rivers, saltwater marshes and cypress swamps.

For the 1997 event, an outdoor exhibition was organized around the theme Human/Nature: Art and Landscape in Charleston and the Low Country. For this occasion, West 8 made a garden design for the Cypress Garden swamps. A rectangular structure of steel poles interconnected by steel wires separates a small part of the swamp area from its surroundings. The Spanish Moss, hung over the wires, forms ultra-light, wavy walls, creating an open-air room where changes in light from morning to evening cause constant modulations in the atmosphere.

A twisted boardwalk leads from solid grounds into the swamps and is extended along two sides within the secluded area. One side offers a landing place for vessels; the other side provides two benches that have been constructed of a cypress trunk found on the site. Here, in the surreal isolation of the cypress swamp, visitors can meditate on alligators sunbathing on a partly fixed raft in one of the corners.

Spoleto Art Festival

© West 8 and © Jeroen Musch