French designer Mathieu Lehanneur recently unveiled the latest addition to his ‘Liquid Marble’ series, the Petit Loire, at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire Centre D’Arts et Nature, during its International Gardens Festival. The installation focuses on the way in which marble, water and light come together in an ideal combination.


“I wanted to address the garden with water as my muse. The water whose presence we sense even before we first catch sight of it below the Château, flowing uninterrupted to the sea. Some say the Loire is France’s last wild river; it shapes and nourishes the landscapes, it passes through without ever pausing along the way,” says Lehanneur. “Petite Loire is a freeze-frame, the river’s perpetual movement caught in a frozen, fossilized moment. A few dozen meters above the river’s natural level, Petite Loire cuts cleanly through the garden’s surface, delving into the soil to reveal a fluvial relief, both vertiginous and practicable, in green marble.”


The installation evokes a surreal vision of the river; made of a single piece of hand-polished marble, and designed using the latest 3D software. Petite Loire reproduces the visual effect of a the water surface, gently ruffled by the wind.

Based on the idea of showing ephemeral things – of capturing indistinct, random moments and transforming them into something solid, the project Liquid Marble explores the possibilities of algorithm, in an effort to hold and freeze what usually disappears into vanity.


“I hope that, when passing the Chateau gates, the visitor will experience something that comes close to a magic portal, to a forbidden place in so many fairytales. Everything is liquid in this space, evanescent, enlightened, and yet it is executed in a material that is the one of the most solid imaginable,” said  Mathieu Lehanneur about the work.


all images © Michel Giesbrecht