Archive for the ‘Special Events’ Category

NY Ballet Gala

Peter Martins’ “Mes Oiseaux,” costumes by Gilles Mendel/Photo by Paul Kolnik

On Thursday May 10th, 2012, Oehme van Sweden Principal Eric D. Groft accompanied Barbara Slifka to the New York City Ballet Spring Gala at Lincoln Center.  Cocktails were served in the lobby and on the terrace, followed by a performance including the world premeire of Mes Oiseaux (choreographed by Ballet Master and Chief Peter Martins, with music by Marc-Andre Dalbavie) and the world premiere of “Two Hearts” (choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, with music by Nico Muhly). The last performance of the evening was the classic Symphony in C (choreographed by George Balanchine and music by Georges Bizet). The night culminated with a dinner and dancing. The Actress Natalie Portman was the Honorary Chairperson and the Gala Chairmen included Emily and Len Blavatnik, Charlotte Moss and Barry Freidberg, and Marie Nugent-Head and James Marlas.

See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/new-york-city-ballet-spring-gala_n_1510688.html for more details and photos.

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On November 5, OvS Principal Sheila Brady spoke on “Distilling the Essence of Native Landscapes” at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. Sheila’s talk was part of the Conservatory’s Native Plant and Sustainability Conference, an annual event celebrating native plants and sustainable landscape management.

Sheila’s presentation focused on Oehme, van Sweden’s work on the New Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden. In a significant departure from the habitat-based model that has shaped many previous native gardens, the approach to the New Native Plant Garden distilled the visual essence of the region’s native landscapes without replicating them. Sheila highlighted the diversity of native plants that were included in the garden, and the selection and enhancement of patterns from nature.

Joining Sheila as presenters at the Conference were Patrick Cullina, Vice President of Horticulture and Park Operations for the High Line elevated park in New York City; Dr. Linda Johnson, Professor of Plant Sciences, Ecology and Native Plant Communities at Chatham University; and Dr. Carol Mapes, Professor and Chair of the Biology Department at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

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James Burnett Sunnylands Annenberg

James Burnett leading the tour of the Sunnylands Annenberg Center

On October 28th and 29th, OvS Principal Eric D. Groft attended The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) Board Meeting in Palm Springs, California. The meeting was held at the new Sunnylands Annenberg Center. Sunnylands is the 200-acre estate that was the West Coast home of Ambassador and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg. Prior to her death in 2009, Mrs. Annenberg identified 15 additional acres adjacent to Sunnylands on which to construct a center and gardens for public programs. She commissioned Frederick Fisher and Partners to design the center and the Office of James Burnett to design the gardens. The nine-acre gardens now feature more than 50,000 low-water-use plants and include walking paths, a labyrinth, green lawn, and a natural wildflower area. Sunnylands Center and Gardens and the renovated historic estate are scheduled to open in early 2012, but the TCLF Board got a sneak peak during a walking tour led by landscape architect James Burnett.

The events of the weekend began on Friday evening, when Eric attended a book signing for Charlotte Freize’s new book Private Paradise: Contemporary American Gardens. Amongst the gardens featured in the book is Casa Luna, a garden designed by OvS on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Cocktails and the book signing were held at the home of Marc Ware, a Palm Springs resident featured in the book, followed by dinner at Johannes.

Saturday started off early with a tour of the Kaufmann Desert House designed by Richard Neutra in 1946. The home was later restored by Marmol and Radziner, with material input and consulting by Albert Frey. The home’s original gardens were designed by Patricia and Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten around 1949-1950 and have been updated a number of times over the years.

Elrod House

Elrod House

Later that day, the group enjoyed a tour of Elrod House, a John Lautner-designed five bedroom, five and a half bathroom residence commissioned by designer Arthur Elrod in 1968 and featured in the classic James Bond movie, “Diamonds Are Forever”, in 1971. The home’s 60 foot-wide circular living is surmounted by a conical dome that fans out in nine petals between nine clerestories angled up to bring in light. Retractable curved glass curtain walls open the entire living room and pool terrace to panoramic views of Mount San Jacinto, Mount San Gorgonio and the full sweep of the valley below and mountain ranges beyond. The very rock of the ridge is incorporated into the design throughout the home.

Saturday evening, Eric drove to San Diego for the ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo with Mario Nievera, Keith Leblanc and Dennis McGlade. The drive over the mountains at sunset was an inspiration! And as anyone could imagine, so was the company and conversation!

Sunnylands Annenberg

Fountain/reflecting pool at the Sunnylands Annenberg Center


Detail of Fountain

Detail of Fountain


A pomegranite tree grown by Jack Benny's mother!

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The Original House at Morven

On Saturday October 1, 2011, Oehme, van Sweden (OvS) Principal Eric D. Groft attended the annual UVa School of Architecture Dean’s Forum at Morven Farm, the former estate of Mr. John Kluge. Starting at 4:30 at the Barns at Morven, an exhibit of student, faculty and alumni collaborative research and the resulting curriculum was on display. Cocktails were served at the Main House and Formal Garden and guests were allowed to tour the Japanese Garden and Tea House, featuring a cascading waterfall and lily pools. Dinner was then held at the Meeting Barn and Theater ( Mr. Kluge termed this structure his “fun barn” – doesn’t everyone need one?). Warren Buford, Executive Director of the School of Architecture Foundation welcomed and emceed the event. Speakers included Thomas H. Bishop, Foundation President and Dean Kim Tanzer.

Eric was accompanied by Jane Howland, the youngest daughter of former Professor (and Eric’s mentor) Benjamin C. Howland, along with faculty member Nancy Takahashi and her husband architect David Oakland. Other alumni at the event included E. Taylor Armstrong, Alan Dynerman and his wife Nancy Seybold, Mary Kay Lanzillotta and her husband Lee Becker, both of Hartman Cox Architects, Tim Leahy of Annapolis and David Haresign of Bonstra/Haresign Architects of Washington, DC.

In 2001, Mr. John Kluge gave the Morven Estate to the University of Virginia Foundation for educational and charible purposes. Located in southeastern Albemarle County, the 7,379-acre gift is valued in excess of $45 million and more than doubled the University’s holdings.

Dean's Forum

Touring the Grounds

Morven Exhibit

The Exhibit

Morven Gardens

Morven's Gardens


Warren Buford, Executive Director of UVA’s School of Architecture


Kim Tanzer

Kim Tanzer, Dean, UVA School of Architecture


Deans Forum

Dean's Forum Dinner

Dean’s Forum photographs by Andrew Shurtleff

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The LongHouse Reserve Garden Committee awarded Oehme, van Sweden & Associates the 2011 LongHouse Landscape Award on Saturday, September 17th at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, NY. The award, given for the first time ever to a firm or group, celebrates the “powerful changes that OvS has consistently and continuously brought to the American landscape for the past five decades.” Prior recipients of the award include landscape architect Dan Kiley, American gardener and horticulturist Frank Cabot, and the founder of the Central Park Conservancy, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers.

OvS Team

L-R: Eric Groft, Wolfgang Oehme, Sheila Brady, Jack Lenor Larsen & Lisa Delplace

Following tours of private gardens in East Hampton, a dinner at the home of Alex and Carole Rosenberg in Water Mill and a luncheon at LongHouse, OvS Principals Sheila Brady, Lisa Delplace, Eric Groft and Founding Partner Wolfgang Oehme accepted the award on behalf of the entire OvS team.

Eric Groft

OvS Principal Eric Groft

As part of the afternoon’s events, guests enjoyed a panel discussion between Oehme, van Sweden clients Kris Jarantoski, Executive Vice President and Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden and Todd Forrest, Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at the New York Botanical Garden. The panel was moderated by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, President of the Foundation for Landscape Studies, and previous winner of the LongHouse Landscape Award.


L-R: Kris Jarantoski, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, and Todd Forrest

LongHouse Reserve exemplifies living with art in all forms. It’s collections, gardens, sculpture and programs reflect world cultures and inspire a creative life.

LongHouse brings together art and nature, and aesthetics and spirit, with a strong conviction that the arts are central to living wholly and creatively. Dedicated to quality and integrity, LongHouse programs encourage a broad concept of learning.

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The annual conference of the American Public Gardens Association took place June 21 – 24, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA. While attending the conference, Oehme, van Sweden Principals Lisa Delplace and Sheila Brady were panelists at a seminar focusing on SITES, the Sustainable Sites Initiative. The idea behind SITES is to create voluntary, national guidelines for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.

Some of the first groups to whole-heartedly embrace and test the ideas of SITES were public gardens – the arboreta, conservatories and botanic gardens of the world. Two of OvS’ current projects, the New York Botanical Garden’s New Native Garden and The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden, are Pilot Projects of the initiative and were a topics of discussion among the seminar panelists.

In addition to Lisa and Sheila, Melanie Sifton of Humber Arboretum, James Ward from the North Carolina Botanical Garden, Stephanie DeStefano of American University and Kelly Ogrodnik from the Phipps Conservatory discussed how they work with nature to ensure built gardens mimic natural systems at NYBG and gardens worldwide.

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The latest tome of gardening, horticulture and design, Hamptons Gardens by Jack DeLashmet, was honored by a book release / cocktail party on Saturday, June 4th. The party, hosted by publisher Assouline and Hamptons Cottages and Gardens, took place in the garden featured in the book – the East Hampton home of Randy Kemper and Tony Ingao.

It was a spectacular evening and the garden looked incredible. Alejandro Saralegui of the Madoo Conservancy described the garden as “Charlie Marder’s greatest hits,” referring to the collection of mature topiary, Japanese Maples, and other specimen trees, all of which were planted within the last five years. Charlie was on-hand (with his standard colorful suspenders) and explained the process of moving and planting these enormous trees in the garden.

The garden also featured some amazing antique walls, stone-work and sculpture throughout the grounds.

OvS Principal Eric D. Groft accompanied Barbara Slifka, whose Sagaponack beachfront garden is featured in the book. They ran into David Ebershoff of Random House (editor of THE ARTFUL GARDEN: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design), Charlotte Moss, Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, Kendall Cronstrom, Chris Coy of Barnes Coy Architects in Bridgehampton and New York City, Diane Benson and Nina Gilman of East Hampton.

Barbar Slifka, Eric, Nina Gilman, Carole Mercer

Barbar Slifka, Eric, Nina Gilman, Carole Mercer

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