Sunder Nursery in Delhi is presently home to a unique juxtaposition, with pictures of Brazilian landscape types framed in opposition to Mughal-model gardens at the Unesco Earth Heritage web-site.

In just one of the pictures taken by leading architectural photographer Leonardo Finotti, pavements, lined with palm trees, unfurl in a meandering structure to mimic the waves of the adjoining Copacabana seashore in Rio de Janeiro. In another photograph, pockets of greenery develop out of geometric modernist types at the Banco Safra in São Paulo. These photos are aspect of a photographic essay by Finotti depicting Brazilian designer Roberto Burle Marx’s most iconic backyard layouts, made from the 1930s-90s.

“He was a painter and designed tapestries, costumes, and jewelry as well. But Roberto Burle Marx—a correct Renaissance person, visionary and artist—is most remembered today for his pioneering landscape models,” mentioned a 2016 post in Vogue that marked his retrospective at New York’s Jewish Museum.

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Burle Marx, who died in 1994, was the to start with in the nation to shift absent from the landscape traditions inspired by European aesthetics to create a truly Brazilian language. He integrated architecture with landscape and utilised tropical plants—considered wild and disorderly, noteworthy only for their anthropological value—to instil pleasure in the community vegetation. Burle Marx, who frequented India in the 1970s, was in reality so fascinated in the ecosystem and biodiversity that he led various expeditions, into the Pantanal and the Amazon for instance, and found out quite a few new species.

The exhibition to celebrate his legacy is becoming held as part of “Building Brazil: 200 Several years of Independence” celebrations in Delhi. “We needed to enjoy on the contrasts in between his types and Sunder Nursery,” suggests André Aranha Corrêa do Lago, Brazil’s ambassador to India.

The show will come at an opportune time, considering the fact that outdoor areas have attained value through the pandemic. Burle Marx, of training course, was developing gardens as social spaces back in the 1930s. “He propagated the idea of public spaces as democratic and protected spaces,” says do Lago.

Brazilian cities these kinds of as Rio de Janeiro have followed just about the identical trajectory of urbanisation as Indian metros like Delhi, with the proportion of eco-friendly public areas reducing with each individual passing decade. Recognising this, Burle Marx tried using to produce inexperienced interventions, converting highways into general public spaces exactly where individuals could walk and enjoy mother nature. “How do you guarantee that flyovers don’t divide towns? If you have to develop a highway or a flyover, how do you completely transform it into a handy general public house which is inclusive for all? He asked queries these types of as these,” claims do Lago.

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Guests to Sunder Nursery will not truly feel they are viewing an alien visible vocabulary. For it has the exact same modernist roots as that of Charles Correa and Raj Rewal, with the aim on social spaces. As do Lago puts it, Burle Marx’s perform, just like the work of these Indian architects, is hugely symbolic of Brazil’s country-setting up method. “He went further than the European cultural types. He integrated architecture with landscape, breaking free from cultural colonisation. In the 20th century, countries these types of as ours have been searching for identification by means of urbanism but really several architects have been able to reach that by means of layouts. Burle Marx stands out in this context,” he states. In 2021, his have farmhouse and garden in close proximity to Rio de Janeiro was involved in the record of Unesco Entire world Heritage web sites.

When Burle Marx frequented India, he requested hundreds of vegetation and included them in many of his designs in Brazil, this kind of as the Flamengo Park in Rio de Janeiro, the premier community park in the world. And some of the species that he learned all through his expeditions—such as the Philodendron Burle Marx and the Calathea Burle Marx—can be located in Indian nurseries now.

So it is only apt that an exhibition about his performs be held in India, a place that influenced him. “Leonardo Finotti took photographs of his work for an exhibition in Paris. His aerial views add an exciting dimension to Burle Marx’s practice. In advance of him, none of the gardens had been intended to be viewed from the sky, as there were no towers in the towns. Having said that, he designed landscapes in a way that they offer you a stunning look at from the leading as properly,” states do Lago.

Burle Marx at Delhi’s Sunder Nursery, a photographic essay by Leonardo Finotti, can be seen till 18 April.

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