Like nearly one in two apprentices, Elodie chose to continue her studies after finishing her advanced diploma with apprenticeship in spatial design. The opportunity to gain a wealth of experience but also to discover new possibilities and uses for design. She started her career in the naval sector but today she is working in the field of landscaping.
It all began with her advanced diploma with apprenticeship in spatial design at Océa
Elodie joined the school in 2009 after doing a technological baccalaureate majoring in flexible materials, and initially planned to become a modeler or stylist. After doing a foundation course in the first year, she opted for BTS Design d’espace en apprentissage. She then worked at the shipyards in Saint-Nazaire in a design office, Océa. Working as an apprentice interior designer, Elodie helped design and build military vessels and yachts. Her degree project on the Canal de la Martinière was a real eye-opener and made her realise how interested she was in urban landscaping. So she subsequently decided to devote her attentions to landscape design.
Then New York and further education beckoned
As soon as she graduated in 2011, she made her first trip to New York. Elodie loves the city and its use of landscaping in urban environments. Back in France in 2012, she did some freelance work for a landscape architect in Nantes (Jacques Lebris paysagiste) then went back to school to do a vocational degree in Landscape Planning at IGARUN in Nantes. The end of year internship took her back to New York and it was then that she began her NY City adventure at Future Green Studio first as staff designer then as senior designer. She spent four years working for the agency on different sized projects in New York including: green roofs, living wall gardens, private gardens, parks, etc. In 2014, the agency won festival des jardins de Chaumont-sur-Loire.
Also in 2014, Elodie decided to take some time out to reassess her achievements and ambitions. She had acquired an ever-increasing passion for plants so she volunteered for one year assisting the head gardener of the native part of the botanical gardens in his daily tasks: propagation, planting, maintaining the native garden, but also some forays into protected reserves to collect seeds from endangered species with a view to conserving them and growing them in the garden. At the same time, she took (and is still taking) classes in botany at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to get a diploma in horticulture. In 2015, she found a job as a landscape designer at Deborah Nevins & Associates in New York. This company specialises mainly in large-scale private and public projects based all over the USA. Elodie is the lead designer for campus development at Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas which includes a plaza and several gardens open to the public. She is also responsible for two other residential projects: a farm in the North of New York State and a property on Block Island in Long Island State.
Discovering new cultures (both social and professional) to guarantee aesthetic and ecological success
Getting to grips with an unfamiliar anglophone culture as well as the profession of urban landscape architect were the biggest challenges. She gained new skills in landscape design but also in setting up projects in partnership with architects and engineers etc. Being a landscape designer in a big city involves a host of other fields. You have to learn a bit about architecture, engineering, plumbing, electricity, urban planning code, how to make a roof impermeable, etc. Her work overlaps with so many other domains that the challenge is to understand the other professions and make sure that the client gets what he wants, even if it’s on the 22nd floor of an apartment block.
Elodie gets her inspiration from mother nature. She favours a back to nature approach, by planting the right plant species in the right place. Choosing indigenous species suited to the project’s climate is important to guarantee not only the aesthetic success but also the ecological success of a landscaped area. Gilles Clément and Piet Oudolf are two huge inspirations to her.