Victoria and I got a great opportunity to see the estate of Roberto Burle Marx, Brazil’s most famous landscape architect. Marx has a signature style of designing his landscape the way he would paint a painting. The concept has made him very famous as a designer, but I was not sure exactly how I would like it once I saw it in person. I have to give Marx credit for how much he pays in tribute to Brazil in his work instead of grasping inspiration solely on this style. He works with the richness of plant variety that the country allows for, and many times commits to using native plants to do so. He also considers many social struggles to create symbolism in his work, as he does on the sidewalks of the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, which have black and white designs meant to show the blending of races in Brazil.
I was admittedly surprised with how lovely I found Burle Marx’ estate to be. I myself am not big on fine art and was also having a hard time imagining plants all behaving neatly like paint strokes. I quite enjoy the self-governing nature of plants. The tour described Marx to make very careful decisions on only the best art
pieces, so much so that he never got to see his studio finished in time before his passing. However, it soon became obvious to me that the plants were not meant to be kept in such strict order, and were mainly organized in flowing, artistic choices while behaving freely. Even if the choices were very particular, there’s no denial that they were well made. I do appreciate how natural structure gets to shine through visual organization, and I was happy to see such healthy and beautiful plants taking the spot light in these designs. I feel it is a great addition to the richness of the area, and to the lively Brazilian style.