Inspired By

Villa Medici
by Le Fleuriste International

Simon de Dreuille and Elena Prendergast founded Le Fleuriste International in Paris together with visual artist Antoine Espinasseau. It is a long-term project focused on cut flower culture and economy. They post every Monday at Simon de Dreuille is currently a fellow at the French Academy in Rome located in the Villa Medici.

“It recently came to my mind very clearly that inhabiting a place, belonging to a community, and being involved in its economy is somehow a matter of both magical thinking and rules. Since September I have lived in this house on the wall. One side overhangs the city of Rome, the other overlooks the Villa Medici’s Renaissance square gardens. I am tied to the house and the gardens by a year-long fellowship.

Along with the iconic pine trees, hedges, plants and flowers, the set of rules that drive the flamboyant garden’s life have progressively caught my attention. The one-year deal: I live here technically only very temporarily.  The requirements of mass tourism: you can’t pick the flowers or the vegetables, they’re part of a décor - and so are you. Security: cameras and controlled access - the swimming pool is filled with stones - you can’t bathe in the fountains. Geometry: squares.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t scorn these rules. I have done a range of more or less meaningful things in the gardens. Things that meant I was home. Hang out, make out, drive a car, ride a bicycle, fly a drone and weather balloon with a camera, mess up, clean up, cuddle stones, steal sage and roses, plant clandestine mimosa shrubs.

I drew the circle – magical thinking in a garden of rules.”

Text Le Fleuriste International/The Garden Edit
Photography Assaf Shoshan