Scope of work
Since the beginning of the practice in 1989, Erik Dhont has worked on a wide variety of projects, and established a client base throughout continental Europe, and beyond in America. Commissions from private individuals, public bodies and commercial institutions have echoed a wide range of contemporary demands and challenges, meanwhile have provided platforms for continuous creativity: How would modern taste coexist with historical context? How would 2-dimensional graphic layout transform into 3-dimensional place making? How would abstract sculpture dialogue with classical topiary? How would furniture and horticulture illuminate one another? Such questions are explored from various angles in various means—drawing, collage, model, installation, dance, film, and first of all, gardens.
Erik Dhont sees garden making a form of art, and he embraces it with imagination in order to give the clients a place to dream. Gardens are places to enjoy and appreciate, as well as places to grow and unwind. No matter the commission is to restore an old garden or to build a new one, the design emphasis is always on discovering and conceptualizing elements from the past based on the practical demands imposed by the present, from playing, cultivating to healing. Functionality is balanced with a fine-tuned aesthetic that remains sensitive to the needs of daily use, the chosen plant material, the environmental concerns and the surrounding landscapes. And the essential goal of the garden and landscape is to make sure that “The strongest element is there: you look, you observe, you take time.”
Over the years Erik Dhont has developed a style that remains personal, distinctive and instantly recognizable. Organic shapes on paper are translated into sculptural forms on site which would gain their patina as time goes by and the garden matures. It is this sense of rhythm—moments of the day, seasons of the year, and periods of life—that Dhont strives to highlight in his design. And his garden space is where this sense of rhythm is embodied and being performed.
Recent commissions include several private gardens in Switzerland and France, a sculpture garden in California and a shore garden in the Azores. The office also works on social and urban development projects in Brussels.
Education and early careerAfter a course in graphics at the Sint-Lucasinstituut, Brussels (graduated 1983), Erik Dhont studied landscape architecture at the Hoger Rijksinstituut voor Tuinbouw, Vilvoorde (1986). He won a European Community scholarship that enabled him to visit London in 1986. His first work experience was as a landscape architect in the offices of M. Heimer, Hildersheim, Germany, followed by practical training at the Adams tree nursery in Ruisbroek. He set up his own studio in Brussels in 1989.
In 1991 he became a member of the Belgische Vereniging van Tuin- en Landschapsarchitecten-BVTL (Belgian Association of Garden and Landscape Architects) and was responsible for the co-ordination of the Repertorium van Landschapsarchitecten-BVTL (Repertory of Belgian Landscape Architects) in 1996.
Erik Dhont has been a member of SABAM (Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers) since 2002.
We would like to thank the patrons, contractors and model makers such as APIS, D3 and Chateau Perplex.
Image credits are stated as follows:
© JPG = Jean-Pierre Gabriel
© RL = Reiner Lautwein
© ED = Erik Dhont
© MFP = Marie-Françoise Plissart