Playful tactics, my practice as Hortus Ludi by Sebastien Penfornis

* Click on the red time-stamp to go directly to each segment in the video

00:10 The Chair (Marcelo Stamm) opens proceedings and introduces the examiners (Gabriella Trovato and Rene van der Velde)

03:10 Examination begins with thanks to various people

03:45 Explanation of the exhibit - Structuring

08:12 Background

08:46 How the exhibition relates to the dissertation – Structuring

09:36 TAKTYK – The structure of the office/company that formed the working space for the PhD – Practice methods

10:15 Introduction of the idea of playfulness – the central theme of the PhD - Contributing / Practice methods

13:05 Play as: stimulus, resistance, social function – Project narrative

13:27 Four approaches - Methodology

14:52 1. Bricolage

22:44 An example of serendipity in the design process: Hortus Ludi Garden - Project narrative

25:12 Discusses drawings, techniques, fragments & collisions of scale - Methodology

31:14 2. Practice as Hortus Ludi

34:57 Playtime at the office - Practice methods

43:18 3. Performative frameworks

44:44 Playing with clients - Practice methods

56:34 4. Concept and Curiosities

1:01:57 Concluding remarks, video and banksia

1:03:51 Marcelo Stamm invites the examiners to offer comments, ask questions ...

1:04:05 Gabriella Trovato (GT) comments on the ‘childlike’ nature of SP’s approach to play, the importance of details and the motivation for framing things. Question: How important is history (e.g. of site) in SP’s process of working?

1:11:47 GT: Did you choose the name Taktyk together with your partner or alone?

1:13:31 Rene van der Velde (RV): Do you think ‘play’ works particularly with the medium of landscape?

1:17:49 Corbett Lyon (CL): A question about PL’s early influences

1:19:51 RV: Has ‘play’ on site changes your perception of a site?

1:21:12 GT: Comments on the success and importance of not always appearing to be the expert. Also of the inclusive and democratic nature of the practice. Question: Did you find a way to deal between rationality and irrationality in your practice?

1:28:30 GT: Q. You like to use your hands (collage, models, sketching). How does this fit with using new technologies? Followed by a dialogue.

1:36:03 RV: What is the state of the art of landscape architecture at the moment and what part does ‘play’ play in that?

1:41:53 RV: A question about methodology. Did you understand the PRS process?

1:44:52 Marcelo Stamm closing remarks and applause

View the full dissertation


Playful Tactics introduces a dialogue between Claude Lévi-Strauss’s definition of bricolage (1962) and my own practice. A large part of this catalogue proposes to make visible both this dialogue and the new opportunities arising from it.

My research aligns with this theoretical framework, but stands alone by interrogating the metaphor of the bricoleur in the practice of landscape architecture. Bricolages and collages are playful operative modes, tactics I have observed and tested in various contexts. This approach allowed me to understand my practice in a new way, seeing it as a Hortus Ludi (garden-as-laboratory and playful place), while at the same time adding a new meaning to the name of the agency

The material in this catalogue repositions the garden typology at the heart of my practice. The garden is viewed as a favourable environment to explore playful and creative modes of engagement within my practice. As a conclusion, the making of a physical garden explored collectively the principle of serendipity and the notion of play, in a new context, have opened up my reflection to new perspectives. Play constitutes a form of resistance to external forces, and refers to a principle of protection that is implicitly or tacitly established either within the agency, or by/for myself. Play refers to a complex system, to tactics that are capable of generating self-regulating dynamics within the creative process.

Year: 2015
Examiners: Rene van der Velde, Gabriella Trovato, Marcelo Stamm  Supervisors: Professor Martyn Hook, Prof SueAnne Ware


Share this artefact