floating gardens
Michel Desvigne

Floating Gardens

Verlaagde Leieboorden


The river Lys has been subject to large-scale redevelopment in the region. In Kortrijk, apart from the transformation and lowering of the quays, the idea was uttered to construct floating green islands. Contrei Live offered the frame to make that idea a reality. Floating Gardens evokes a natural aquatic landscape, a floating island paradise to reflect on and off the water. Small, simple and repetitive structures reproduce the natural riverbank planting, stressing the crossing of the seasons in their natural transience. From the quays, one can admire the floating gardens front row, and wonder at the process of creating new forms of urban nature. The plants, who are endemic to the Lys shores, take root in the water, supported by the floating ecosystem without any soil. This is a method similar to hydroculture. The ambition is to extend the number of islands in the future, making the intervention sustainable in its watery nature. 


GPS coordinates artwork: 50°49'48.8"N 3°15'58.5"E

In the centre of Kortrijk, by the bold Broel Towers, the two redesigned quays broaden into a kind of amphitheatre, suggesting a square, partially paved and part aquatic. This piece of public space sets the perfect scene for re-evaluation and repurposing of the open river space. Walkers are lured to the water by the wide and lowered river banks, while the river itself becomes the ideal platform for new activities and uses. As a biological corridor in the blue-green network, the Lys is quite artificial in the city in terms of bird migration and water organisms. So why not give shoreplants of old a chance to grow back anew?


Michel Desvigne is a French landscape architect, internationally acclaimed for his rigorous and contemporary work and research. His projects encompass more than 25 countries. With a different view, he tries to understand the mechanics that make a landscape and then apply those mechanics to transform the very landscape in a meaningful way. In 2000, he was awarded the Médaille de l’Académie d’Architecture and in 2011 the Grand Prix de l’Urbanisme. Since 2003, he is a knight in the French order of Arts and Literature. Desvigne has lectured at numerous institutions around the world. As a geographer and botanist, he works on a large scale. He loves the city because of its bountiful public space, and because a well-planned city with all its streets, squares and parks also shapes a society. 


Funded by

Design In Town

Logo Stad Kortrijk


In collaboration with


Designregio Kortrijk logo