Magnified: Pleasant Place


Posted 5 months ago in Magazine

Pleasant Place is a collection of publications about the art of gardening catering to both those “who grow gardens as well as those who imagine gardens.” We sow the seeds of acquaintance  with one of its editors-in-chief Lou-Lou van Staaveren.

Can you discuss the origins of Pleasant Place, the people behind it and how it came to be?

The Pleasant Place team consists of Floor Kortman, Guus Kaandorp and myself Lou-Lou van Staaveren. All of us have a background in the arts – both Guus and I are photographers by trade, Floor’s an art historian, curator and writer. In 2021 I graduated art school with a photographic project (also called Pleasant Place) about a fictional garden and a thesis about gardening and arts. During my research I noticed that there are very few, if none, magazines and publications with a more experimental approach to gardening. On the one hand there are lots of garden magazines filled with practical information, all with a similar style in graphic design and aimed at a slightly older audience. On the other hand, there are a few designy, ‘hip’ magazines that deal with topics of climate and greenery, however, their contents lean heavily on lifestyle and fashion, but little practical information for those who actually want to work in the garden. Pleasant Place aims to fill the gap between these two categories, challenging the traditional notion of gardens and gardening while we’re at it.

 

You are now on your third edition, can you give us an idea of the journey for readers so far?

Pleasant Place approaches gardening as a form of art. We’re always trying to find ways to look at gardening a little differently, or find people who do. This is also why we work with artists on our imagery, and try to depict gardens and gardening in visually exciting ways. Hopefully we’ve surprised our audience with our three issues so far, and hopefully we’ve encouraged people to get gardening! It’s the perfect place for creative experiment as you can start over again each season.

Our approach to making the publications is personal and curious. We don’t claim to know everything about gardening, we’re learning and doing at the same time, finding the right people to inform us, discovering things along the way.

Each issue of Pleasant Place is dedicated to a single garden topic, and so each issue can be different in content depending on what the topic needs, whether it’s recipes, tips ’n tricks, (art) historical context, etc. The loop staples (and the future binder!) make it fun and easy to collect the issues that you’re interested in, like a personal alternative garden encyclopedia.  

What is the design philosophy behind Pleasant Place?

Together with design studio fanfare Amsterdam (Miquel Hervás and César Rogers) we created a playful, evolving philosophy for the design, allowing the magazine to grow and change, just like a garden. Each issue has a different font based on little ornaments that can pop up through the entire magazine, but can also behave differently based on what they depict. Another important aspect of this philosophy is the use of spot colours. We pick a different one for each issue. One thing is it really makes that specific colour pop off the page, but also because we use it in different ways in text & imagery, it creates surprises, even for us. Just like in a garden.  

Can you describe your rather unusual website? It reveals so much and so little all at once.

The website, pleasantplace.space, functions as a personalised online index. These old publication series, on which the design is inspired, used to come with indexes one could add to their binder in which the series were kept to help navigate the information and topics. We wanted people to be able to make a customised index, based on their personal collection, that they’b be able to print directly from our website. Sacha Krischock did a great job building our website.

Are you all keen gardeners? Any particular favourite plants? What should we be considering for our gardens and winter boxes as we embrace autumn?

Funnily enough, none of us have a garden. We all live in Amsterdam and have to make due with balconies. I’m a keen gardener and spends a lot of time working in my parents’ garden, just outside the city. We’re currently preoccupied with the ‘Artichoke’ as our upcoming issue is dedicated to this plant. The artichoke flowers in my garden are currently blooming and this year’s cuttings have been growing really quickly the past weeks, hopefully they’ll produce bulbs before winter! Otherwise it’s dahlia season, we love dahlia’s <3

Autumn is the best time to plant bulbs and perennials as the earth is still warm allowing plants to develop a strong root system, giving them a head start for next spring.

Issue no. 1 Enclosures, no. 2 Nasturtiums and no. 3 Compost, €11 each.

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