For a garden curatorial project


Michele Tobia

Landscape scholarships – edition 2021/2022

subject area: Nature e gardens

tutors: Simonetta Zanon, head of Landscape projects area; Luigi Latini, chairman of the Scientific Committee of Fondazione Benetton

The research focused on the bonds and superimpositions detectable between the notions of garden and exhibition, heterotopic spaces in which places and objects converge, in a process activated by operations of care and curatorship. The intention has been to think about the exhibition as a device capable of interrogating the garden (real or symbolic), directing a reflection on its meaning. Grammatical analogies were traced according to the care that can guide the landscape project, for which gardens and exhibitions hold the position of experimental fields and operational microcosms, which open up questions of our time concerning the relationship between the designer (gardener-curator) and the planet.

In particular, following the establishment of the binomial relationship – hypothesized starting from two theoretic dictionary voices – a sequence of possible relations was traced for study: exhibitions about the garden, exhibitions in the garden, exhibitions of (living/real) gardens, exhibitions through gardens.

The exhibition’s curatorship starts with the collection, a project phase that the research emulated, building a ‘collection’ of voices and experiences from the field of study through an online round table. The outcomes of the meeting materialized in the figurative synthetic-critical contributions requested from the participants and, in combination with notions and questions that emerged in the research, formed the hypothesis for an embryonic garden exhibition.


Michele Tobia, architect, graduated in architecture from the Department of Architecture of the University of Florence in February 2020, obtaining the dignity of publication for his thesis entitled Honkadori [本歌取り]. Revitalization project for a village in Kyūshū. This work gathers the reflections on architecture and landscape developed in the context of two workshops and an Erasmus ExtraUE, carried out in collaboration between the University of Florence, and the Department of Architecture and Architecture Engineering of Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan.

In 2021, alongside his collaboration at the Cecchetto & Associati studio, he obtained a Master’s degree in Landscape and Garden Architecture at the Iuav University of Venice with a thesis entitled Landscapes on display. Theories and design operations for a landscape exhibition, an experience upon which he built his following research in the context of the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche Landscape Scholarships.