A landscape architect
Mr. Ferdinand Leffler is a landscape architect and a designer working at the FLERA studio. He considers himself primarily to be an advocate of the proportionality of particular objects and an empathetic listener.
What lies at the heart of your interest in design and in creating gardens?
I enjoy people. I like to listen to them, to ask them questions and to try to delight them.
What was your first design job?
Sand ripples in a “stormy ocean” at the bottom of my aquarium when I was seven.
Your most favourite job?
I enjoyed the work in Bretagne for my friends Joeal and Marta Davoure. I also enjoyed the small gardens in New Hampshire too. Another big challenge was a park with “twelve Stations of the Cross“ in Štětkovice.
What makes a beautiful interior or exterior?
Beautiful? This is an absolutely relative term. Let’s say rather a deep, meaningful and true concept. It is a concept that belongs to its users. It should not look down on them, but it should also not be an embarrassing, silly fawning clown. It should be just like them. In my gardens, the owner should find peace and perhaps even himself.
How would you describe your “architectural signature?”
Clean and understandable lines, friendly proportions, material used in its rawest forms, stability, contrasts. I only use a minimum of significant elements. The background is highly essential. It allows a “prima ballerina” or a “matador” to stand out perfectly.
What should a person who wants to change his/her garden think about, if he/she doesn’t know how to go about it?
These people should first think about what kind of a person they are. About what their family and loved ones are like. How they intend to spend time in the garden. They should recall some beloved gardens of their youth. And they should free themselves of all the limiting “goblins” and open themselves up to their wishes. As such, it’s not about money, it’s about the quest.
How do you and the owner create a garden?
We meet together in the garden and we talk together there. I listen and draw. In a couple of days, we meet again. I speak, he listens and then he talks too. And then the same thing happens ten times over … and the design is ready!
Is the level of Czech gardens improving?
I perceive a definite shift every year. I feel, and this very nice, that an increase the use of sustainable horticultural practices can be seen. This also applies to the prospect of growing one’s own fruit and vegetables. I feel that this new trend is more playful and relaxed. The days of pompous arboretums are gone … now it is time to put on one’s boots!
Describe the style of your house and garden…
We have a beautiful old house in Dobřichovice. I live there with my wife and our two daughters, two sons and two Labradors. The walls in my home are beautifully painted with crayons and stamped with children’s handprints. In the garden, we have an old water pump and we have a lot of fun with it. Another favourite children’s activity is the collection and farming of earthworms and beetles. We have a great terrace and a pergola with a fireplace. All in all, our garden is a great place for adventure.
Do you have a tip or some inspiration on how to achieve a beautiful garden?
What is your favourite design shop?
I don’t have a favourite design shop. I deem design stores some “really true design” to be. There is design all around us … in every supermarket, at each station and in each park with greenery.
Ferdinand Leffler is a garden architect and designer and the founder of the Flera studio. He selects careful, reliable and creative architects for his team. He will help you to come up with a garden which is made to measure to meet your requirements and needs and so that you feel good in it: “We are advocates of the fact that the architecture of a property should express a story which has a beginning, gradation and a point… The garden should arise from the consistent interconnection of all the elements, functions and motifs which the client’s requirements bring to it and it should have a single author.
Source: Hospodářské noviny | 05/2012
Text: Ferdinand Leffler
Photo: Atelier Flera