Outside and inside connected

Landscape architect Enzo Enea talks about his philosophy of Outside In in our interview.


Landscape architect Enzo Enea, originally from Rapperswil in Switzerland, founded the internationally successful Enea Landscape Architecture company,  which specialises in designing customised gardens in both the private and corporate sector. The services cover everything, from the planning and building phase right up to the interior decor. The Enea-Hauptquartier and Tree Museum are in Rapperswil-Jona, while Zurich, Miami and New York are home to his other sites.

What motivates you, what gets you going every day?

I am grateful to have found out what I wanted to do with my life relatively early on. This means I am in the fortunate position of being able to do what I love every day. As a landscape architect, nature and living spaces are at the heart of what I do. We design gardens, terraces and interior spaces under the philosophy of “Outside In”. As a businessman I feel a strong duty of care for my employees. I am extremely motivated by creative and social commitment. I also want to use my work with trees to inspire people to think about the urgent issue of the times: treating nature with care and respect.

A lot can also be accomplished with very little, you just need to know more about how. The adage “less is more” is definitely a wise saying.

 Do you agree with the impression that the boundary separating the outside from the inside is becoming less and less distinct?

Yes. This is exactly the philosophy we have been following for years at Enea. We call it “Outside In”. It helps us perceive and design the entire perimeter as a unit. The garden is not a decorative extension, it is outdoor living space. We can cook outside, invite the family to dine or, depending what stage you are at in life, create a quiet space for reflection.

How can you make this work?

The growing awareness about looking after nature plays a role here. Fortunately the issues of climate change, diminishing resources and a growing population have made people stop and think, and redefine their place in the environment. Once again we recognise that people and nature are not two separate entities, but one and the same. This makes gardens a part of our lives; they become our living space. Because we are so experienced in turning this holistic philosophy into a reality, more and more people are coming to Enea in search of these exact same values. We incorporate the colours, shapes and materials from the outside and inside to create an inspiring dialogue and an expanded sense of space.

You opened your Outside In business in Zurich over 15 years ago to complement your landscape architecture services. Was that in response to this trend?

Yes. This gave us a platform to show friends and interested parties our ideas and what we could create. The increasingly popular world of Outside In took root in 2006 together with hand-picked design objects and accessories. The interior design store Outside In opened its doors in Gessnerhof at Löwenplatz in November.

How has landscape architecture changed over recent years?

The changes in landscape architecture are reflected in the dialogue between people and the environment, how people perceive their role in the environment, the climatic changes taking place, and even sociological and demographic factors. Are families getting bigger, are we working more from home, how important is nature – all these questions influence the future of landscape architecture. In my work I try to go beyond just noticing these trends, I want to shape them. For example, by setting up my tree museum in Rapperswil-Jona, I have made a place that joins together nature, art, landscape architecture and design. The tree museum embodies a potential ideal that welcomes man as part of nature and opens the way to dialogue. All of the trees are salvaged from construction sites where they would have otherwise been felled, and the stone walls are made from reject stocks – a prime example of reuse and recycle.

I especially like the Japanese maple. The vibrant growth of the lower branches and its flat foliage also make it a great sun shade.

What is your favourite way of bridging the inside to the outside?

It depends on the location. In our work, we always follow the philosophy of “Genius Loci”, which means we respect the spirit of a place. We assess each place individually, take into consideration its topographic and microclimatic characteristics, and use the results to design a unique living space. This should mould seamlessly into the landscape and bring the colours and shapes of the landscape into the garden

and from there into the interior. Flowing, transporting, inviting, distinct, elegant.

Which Outdoor Living dream would you still like to make come true?

Lots of friends and family coming together to eat under the peach trees as a tribute to my grandfather, who inspired me to take this path in life.


Bilder: ©Enea GmbH, Enea Landschaftsarchitektur/ Enea Baummuseum

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