The 12th edition of Bergamo Landscape Festival kicks off: over 75 events scheduled, 28 designers expected from all over the world and a Green Square symbol of a forgotten landscape and a more sustainable and conscious urban design of the future

The landscape, any landscape, is dynamic, changing all the time. And today, as in the past, human intervention is the key to this change. The landscape of the future will also be a reflection of human needs, of land use for food production and energy consumption. The planetary population continues to grow, most people live in urbanised environments. At the same time, the challenge of climate change is looming: devastating floods and deadly droughts will become increasingly frequent, and together with rising temperatures, will affect vegetation, plants, essences and green varieties. Landscape, any landscape, is also culture, narrative, recognisability. A complexity that involves not only how it is protected, but also how it is told, perceived, appreciated, valued, protected. Considerations that require a strategic and innovative approach to the near future of its planning and design.

Landscape Festival - I Maestri del Paesaggio 2022

Forgotten Landscape

These and other themes will be addressed during the 12th edition of the Landscape Festival - I Maestri del Paesaggio, promoted by Arketipos and the Municipality of Bergamo, to be held in the Upper City from 8-25 September 2022. As every year, the heart of the event is the Green Square, designed by the internationally renowned designer and plant designer Cassian Schmidt and the German University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf, represented by Aurelia Ibach, Verena Hurler, Fabiola Leonett von Wachter and Simon Schwarz, the students who won the competition to define the concept and focus.

The first time for a University

For the first time, an internationally recognised Landscape Design University was involved in the main project, with a green, innovative and practical orientation, able to offer courses oriented towards nature and environment-related topics, ranging from science to art, from high-tech to Land Art. At the end of a five-month course (from February to June 2021), a jury, made up of members of Arketipos, two lecturers from the University of Weihenstephan and the landscaper and urban designer Stephan Tischer, selected the group that came up with the Forgotten Landscape project.

A green oasis, a flourishing forest

"Over the past eight days, we have transformed the Piazza Vecchia in Bergamo into a green oasis: visitors will be able to explore four different green areas reminiscent of the different types of vegetation typical of the Forgotten Landscape riparian of the Po River. Initially, they will be able to cross the raised pedestals in the green area of the floodplain forest and then cross an area of tall perennial vegetation mixed with willow groves. Alongside, two different types of wet meadows with typical flowering plants and a large number of larches," explains Cassian Schmidt, Plant Designer Green Square 2022. "Forgotten Landscape brings for the first time the illusion of a flourishing forest to the square, where even small insects and birds are finding their place among the plantations. The 82 trees and around 8,000 plants represent the need for much more vegetation, especially trees, in urban areas to solve future cooling problems through evapotranspiration and water retention problems through infiltration. Turning the vision into reality was the real challenge. The project proved to be complex, and was made possible by a team of about 22 people - including professionals and volunteers - who worked to have everything ready on time. It was a real pleasure to work with the Weihenstephan students. I am more than satisfied with the current appearance of the square, which is better than I had imagined. It was an honour to work in one of the most beautiful historical squares in Italy."

A plan to revitalise the city

In addition to the square, the three weeks of the Festival will be enriched by 70 events open to the public, such as workshops, ateliers, educational areas, games, and exhibitions designed for children and families, capable of involving by educating them about greenery, beauty and sustainability. "Bergamo is a city of landscape: it is so, in fact, thanks to its hillside heritage and the fact that the built-up area blends in with the natural landscape (a quarter of the city is, in fact, Parco Regionale dei Colli), a feature also recognised by the Council of Europe, which last December awarded our city the Landscape of Europe 2021 prize," says Giorgio Gori, Mayor of Bergamo. "It is also through the Landscape Festival, an event that aims to keep this historical-cultural and landscape heritage of the city, one of Bergamo's main identity traits, in evidence. The 2022 edition is an important part of the city's great relaunch plan and lays the foundations for the growth of the event in view of the appointment as Italian Capital of Culture 2023. We are just a few months away from the appointment that sees Bergamo with Brescia as the protagonist of an extraordinary event in our country: the festival plans to expand also to some spaces in Brescia, marking an unthinkable alliance until a few years ago."

Training, guests and experts

Also nourished and unique is the range of high-profile training events, to explore, from different points of view, the increasingly central role of the landscape in favour of sustainable development, urban regeneration and the enhancement of the architectural and artistic heritage. Professionals, designers, researchers, lawyers, and students, coming from nine countries around the world from four continents, will find in the Landascape Festival a unique point of reference for updating and professional growth through the testimony of international guests and experts.

Building the city of the future

"I am proud to inaugurate this edition of the Landscape Festival: a project that, over the years, with its cultural soul and international scope, has been able to build a path that the world of design, business and institutions are following: a path to face, in a pragmatic way, the urgency of climate change and ecological transition, to build the cities of the future, thanks to the integration of greenery, architecture and community," says Vittorio Rodeschini, president of Arketipos. "We are all convinced that we need more trees in cities: in Bergamo we say which trees and why. The Festival is a unique opportunity for training and in-depth analysis for professionals and designers working on the subject; it is an opportunity for companies, which are focused on the themes of ecological transition and sustainability and which, in this event, can find the right opportunity to communicate and experiment with concrete projects. An event that also wants to be an appeal to politicians, so that they include in the agenda, within the transition, a serious and competent chapter dedicated to the theme of the study, correct design and maintenance of the landscape."

Forgotten Food

Festival visitors will also be able to savour and appreciate 'forgotten' dishes of Bergamo cuisine or products from the Po riverbed: thanks to the Forgotten Food initiative, conceived by Arketipos and the non-profit association De Cibo and curated by journalist Silvia Tropea Montagnosi: 18 restaurants in the Upper City will offer some of the oldest local recipes, to provide a unique gastronomic and cultural experience, consecrating the authentic soul of traditional cuisine.

Landscape Festival is possible thanks to the participation of the institutions that have always supported and believed in the event, such as the Lombardy Region, Bergamo City Council, Bergamo Chamber of Commerce, UniAcque and Fondazione Cariplo, as well as companies (Panariagroup with its new sustainability project Think Zero; Pedrali with the furnishings for the Piazza Vecchia installation and the Verso le Origini installation at the Antico Lavatoio signed by Olos Atelier and Raffaele Orrù; Mapei presenting its new line for sustainable paving Mapestone GR-ECO whose basic component is a fruit, the apple; Simes illuminating Geen Square with a selection of outdoor lighting fixtures) main partners of the initiative who find in the Festival the most appropriate context to best express projects and values linked to the theme of sustainability, based on the centrality of man, the community and the city, also through dedicated installations.