Jardins du Japon par Denis-Marie LAHELLEC – Château de Bénouville

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Jardins du Japon par Denis-Marie LAHELLEC – Château de Bénouville

Gardens of Japan

The garden plays an essential role in Japanese culture: garden in the temple or sanctuary, villa, palace or fortress – it is never far from the buildings it accompanies.
This conference will focus on the main types of successive gardens that have emerged over the archipelago’s history: gardens with ponds, as early as the 6th century, dry gardens initiated in the 15th century by Zen monks from China, tea gardens, codified in the 17th century, for the ritual of the tea ceremony.
Dry gardens, referred to as Zen gardens are the best-known gardens of Japan in the Western world – those whose composition and principles are the farthest from our own garden design and our Western aesthetic models.
Yet, the archipelago’s highly specific history and geography have led to an exceptionally diverse and quite singular garden heritage, of rare elegance and sophistication, in this culture ‘influenced’ by Shintoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism.

Denis-Marie Lahellec

After studying for a Master’s Degree in territorial development science and techniques at the University of Tours, Denis-Marie Lahellec defended a PhD in urban planning at the University of Toulouse. With a passion for architecture and heritage, he then integrated the Nantes School of Architecture to become a DPLG state-qualified architect.
His professional career has essentially been devoted to serving the French State:  Ministry of Ecology in the Centre-Val de Loire region, Ministry of Culture in Brittany.
He spent a total of 2 and a half years in Japan, over 3 successive trips: a mission for the Ministry of Ecology on the theme of ‘urban amenities’, a post-doctoral research trip with the University of Tokyo’s department of architecture and landscape on the theme of ‘heritage protection’ and, finally, a study of ‘Japanese tourism clientele in France’ for the Ministry of Tourism and the Caisse nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites (national monuments centre).
Also a keen gardener, he created his own consultancy and design office on gardens of Japanese inspiration: www.obi-jardin.fr.