Viesturs Cielens

Viesturs Cielens

Viesturs Cielens

Time Spirit and Place

is whimsical and intuitive … working closely with ‘the person behind the garden’ … (usually a woman), who made small gardens in Australia since first settlement, initially as a refuge … and a way of feeding families … he sees this as a special partnership between the human spirit and nature.

This evolutionary process has fascinated Viesturs who was born in Sweden of Latvian parents emigrating to Australia in 1948. He interprets gardens as a means of personal expression and ‘placemaking’. Embodied in his own fine work, this approach reflects a keen appreciation for the harsh climate and mysterious light around his home state of South Australia. And for recognition of the potential for art in garden design, and the contribution that community volunteers can make.


Viesturs says –

I do not wish to speak about my own body of work, instead to explore more a series of influences that some of you may also have shared and been inspired by.

The idea of sharing the Time Spirit and Place story with you, gestating like a seed now for over 25 years, came to me as a response to the invitation to speak at this conference.

The story began in 1987 and came to a climax in 1989 after the curation of an exhibition called Time Spirit and Place, It was a documentary about eleven women, all garden-makers in and around Adelaide and further out into the regions of South Australia. They began and they tended their gardens which have come to possess qualities that capture part of this small colony’s unique landscape identity, in Time Spirit and Place.

The Time Spirit and Place project is a catalyst for defining influences and a particular way of understanding and working with gardens over a large part of the twentieth century. It has a memory and messages for those designers, making and tending gardens of the twenty first century.

The story of Time Spirit and Place also leads to a secret mystery which will be revealed for the first time to many of you.

Viesturs Cielens


Designer Profile

Viesturs Cielens is a designer, gardener and landscape planner whose work in South Australia now spans some 40 years. His work practice specialises in small intimate projects, school-play environs and community projects. These often with collaborating artists, which extend into regional communities redefining themselves over a longer period of time through a synthesis of art, narrative and the landscape – a place making process which embodies a strong sense of identity within the genius loci of each community.