Monday, June 9, 2008

The Garden of Disquiet

An invitation arrived. To design a house for Fernando Pessoa. Yet ... should it be a house? Should it not be a garden, a place of mercurial mysteries, secrets, veils? A landscape where one might assume any one of a number of guises, like Pessoa's personas? A place of harvest, of memory, of dark sounds ... Pessoa's poetry set on fire with the fado ... of hauntings and doppelgangers, (dis)appearances ... shouldn't it, then, be a garden?

Fernando Pessoa's Sopra demais o Vento as fado / tango

Writing is like the drug I abhor and keep taking, the addiction I despise and depend on. There are necessary poisons, and some are extremely subtle, composed of ingredients from the soul, herbs collected among the ruins of dreams, black poppies found next to the graves of our intentions, the long leaves of obscene trees whose branches sway on the echoing banks of the soul’s infernal rivers
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Italian Fountains, Hyde Park, one year ago today, jb

The static motion of the trees; the troubled quiet of the fountains; the indefinable breathing of the sap's deep pulsing; the slow arrival of dusk, which seems not to fall over things but to come from inside them and to reach its spiritually kindred hand up to that distant sorrow (so close to our soul) of the heavens' lofty silence; the steady and futile falling of leaves, drops of estrangement in which the landscape comes to exist only in our hearing, and it becomes sad in us like a remembered homeland - all of this girded us uncertainly, like a belt coming undone.
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Alvaro Siza is part of Pessoa's constellation. An architect of grace and strength, designer of one of the very best and most subtle landscapes: the swimming pool at LeƧa da Palmeira in Portugal, and fantastic fusions of architecture and gardens. It should, most definitely, be a garden ...

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