Born in 1957, Massimo Semola graduated in Architecture and started working on projects and management of private gardens and terraces.
He is associate member AIAPP (Associazione Italiana di Architettura del Paesaggio) and Commissione Formazione Professionale, associate of EFLA (European Foundation of Landscape Architecture) and FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) delegate for gardens in Novara province, Piedmont.
His professional carreer started in 1992: he specilized in green areas associated to vineyards and farms. He also worked as contributor for several magazine for gardens and gardening TV columns.
It is not just a name but many. As you can see in my works, I am an eclectic and I like to change style according to place and client. I was in love with both Russell Page and Burle Marx, but also with Shodo Suzuki and Jacques Wirtz.
It probably did not really changed my life, but Burle Marx’s Jardin de Odette Monteiro in Petropolis amazed me. I had never before imagined that human mind could have given birth to such a marvel. Inimitable. One of mine gardens that marked a turning point was “Let’s talk about us?” – 50sqm. – at the Modena Garden Festival, in 1998. Looking backwards, when I didn’t know much about gardens, I remember visiting Giusti Garden in Verona, as a child. Then, as a boy, the discovery of silver-foliage plants in an English park.
Rolej - Roppolo Winery
Respect and nurture our planet, safeguard its beauty and its bounties for present and future generations: these are the ethics and principles which form the core of The Earth Charter, created in 2000 with the aim of promoting sustainable development on Earth. They are also the principles which have guided Agostino and Adriana Liuni, owners of the Rolej wine estate set amongst the undulating hills and sinuous valleys of Cavaglià and Roppolo in Piedmont, northern Italy. For more than 35 years they have cared for this corner of Eden: 50 hectares overlooking Lake Viverone, of which five are cultivated with vines among the rolling hills and the remainder being woodland, fields and small gardens. Winding along a path through woods the views open out over a gentle, green landscape studded with tall trees. Mixed borders, hedges of lavender and rosemary, roses (“Ballerina””Old Blush”, Rosa x odorata “Mutabilis”), spiraea and lavatera all blend in harmony with the extensive meadows, dotted with daisies and poppies, and the serried rows of the vineyard. Crowning the hillsides on either side of the property, the woodland contains the strongly scented robinia as well as beech, chestnut, lime, birch, hornbeam, European nettle tree, oak, cherry and poplar. Following a programme of clearance and selection a further 100 trees were planted many of which were evergreens, such as pine, yew and holly, adding structure and form for the winter months. This intervention has helped to integrate the garden and the vineyard into the surrounding landscape, respecting the area’s morphology and scenery. The widespread use of rocks and stones, both for paving and retaining walls, is softened by lush vegetation enveloping the homestead, a farmhouse which has been modernised and enlarged to accommodate a growing family. Flowers and colour surround the house in abundance whereas the parkland and vineyard are dominated by shades of green during the summer months and tones of yellow and red in autumn.
Hospital San Raffaele Gruppo San Donato
The hospital of San Raffaele in Milan is an outstanding example of European medical excellence: scientific research is supported by a formative university department. This new surgical centre, named “Iceberg”, was designed by Mario Cucinella Architects and is an avant garde building centred around the principle of ‘humanising’ hospitals. Integrating natural elements, such as light and greenery, enhances the quality of the indoor space and consequently of the individual.
The building, which is clad entirely by glass and terraced green gardens, contains the various medical departments Inpatients, Outpations, Consultancies, etc. The sequence “Iceberg – polar ice pack – fissures formed during the Arctic spring” was the inspiration for the terraces; the slender vertical profiles of the tower reaching upwards, are countered by ample green surfaces with unobstructed views. On Iceberg’s western terrace gravel has been used as an alternative to high-maintenance grass and is delimited by steel edgings which traverse the terrace lengthways.
The strip LEDs on the profiles create the effect of vertical luminescence; the graphic effect of the central motif is best observed from the upper floors of the surrounding buildings. The necessity of using plants that would not require constant watering, are able to endure torrid summer temperatures and freezing winters but can quickly cover larrge surfaces, meant choosing the most versatile of Mediterranean species. Therefore white, grey and green are the dominant plant colours – perfectly in harmony with a ‘total white’ architecture. The Iceberg is Italy’s first hospital to attain the LEED Gold certificate, the classification of energy efficiency and the ecological footprint classification system of buildings.