The weekly flights on air shuttle have become part of my life in the last ten years because of my work and I have been turning these inevitable forty-five minutes into moments of reflection among the clouds with the blessing of Christ the Redeemer. Born in São Paulo, absolute landscaper, by nature, at each landing in Rio I feel overwhelmed by an insinuating landscape, almost a provocation: sculptural nature, the stone mountains penetrating the water, wild nature in the forest, curves, lots of curves and lots of light. On the plane's stairs a hot breath of scents bringing messages from the sea.
Returning to São Paulo, almost always at night, when the built and inert immensity is dressed in points of light concealing the urban tragedy, we are quickly led into the houses and apartments, restaurants, theaters, receiving in the warmth of the interiors the counterpoint of rigidity, of ugliness, of differences, bringing us to a defended and serious introspection.
Going up and down, along with the change of tune, my line is loosened and my drawing gaining freedom in the exact extent that I enjoy the Rio’s landscape generosity. None of this is new to me, nor does the dazzle overshadow the complexity and the ailments that the city carries. The routine of intimacy with natural beauty is what is revealing and exacerbating the contrasts of life in the presence and lack of nature. Having the prospect of rescuing nature in our daily life while minimizing this duality is a privilege. Working with the natural element, however, involves managing the imponderable and the big responsibility. It requires improved and renewed knowledge of vegetation, an understanding of the land to be drawn, a careful survey of environmental conditions, an understanding of the surroundings, a dive into the history of the gardens, the design technique and understanding of the scale to be worked on, given by the study of architecture, and the reading of architecture itself. To this is added the function and the space to be designed, and who will enjoy this place. It is not little thing. Above all, it is necessary to have the humility that, when it comes to nature, you never know enough. All this and much more aggregated and digested in the creative process along with the references and memories accumulated throughout our life, like that magical moment of seeing Aterro do Flamengo bathed in the red of the sunset, slowly moving away on the wings of the plane, that will produce a unique project that gains its full meaning in the search for the condition of being part of nature, and not of constant predators. Reclaiming our primitive rusticity gives us a realistic dimension of our commitment to the preservation and creation of this natural universe, because we belong to it.
writing and photo Isabel Duprat