Interview with PDA Juror: Prof Herbert Dreiseitl

Sep 1, 2015

150904 Herbert Dreiseitl

Prof Herbert Dreiseitl is a German designer, landscape architect, water artist and urban planner. He is an expert in creating “liveable cities” across the world, using water an as innovative resource for enhancing the urban environment. His company Atelier Dreiseitl designed the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and the Jurong Eco-Garden. Both projects were Design of the Year in the President’s Design Award of 2012 and 2014 respectively. Today, Herbert Dreiseitl is leading the research work at Ramboll’s Liveable Cities Lab, the new think-tank of the Ramboll Group.

Prof Dreiseitl was invited to be a juror of the President’s Design Award 2015, in the category of Exhibition, Interior Design and Landscape Design. During his visit to Singapore in July, DesignSingapore had a chat with him.

150904 Photography haven_Yeo Lei Heong June
Jurong Eco-Garden. Photo: Yeo Lei Heong June

150904 View towards the summit forest_Ng Guan Shyh
Jurong Eco-Garden. Photo: Ng Guan Shyh

My personal style signifier is a self-made ring. I made a pair for my partner, Bettina, and I. My clothes are by Doris Hartwich. I like good, comfortable stylish shoes by Quarvif. My spectacles are from Barcelona.

The emerging young German talents that I am excited about are Nicolai Rissmann, a photographer/film-maker from Berlin who is sensitive, focused, yet versatile; and Sylvia and Veronica Zucker, two musicians who make high-quality classical music with excellent performance.

The places in the world to experience inspired landscape design are the parks in Barcelona, which resonate with a casual lifestyle; the unconventional backyard gardens in Berlin, some even have honey farms producing the best honey in Germany; the magical, landscape of the Lofoten Islands, in northern Norway; the rice terraces of Bali; and the parks, new and old, in New York City. Growing on my roof-top garden are herbs and flowering plants like Iris Sibirica, Aquilegia, lavender and old English roses.

I’d like to design a water oasis in the desert. And a fire place in the Arctic.

In my spare time, I sketch nude figures; and remote landscapes like mountains, glaciers and deserts.

An artistic pursuit I have not tried but would be keen to do is to create an interactive event in a space like an old factory, with water and fire.

As host to a perfect dinner, my imaginary guests for the table of five are Christian Werthmann, associate professor at the Landscape Architecture Department, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Michelle Obama, US First Lady; Khoo Teng Chye, executive director for Centre for Liveable Cities (Singapore); Dr Amal Abdulla Juma Al Qubaisi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council; and Bettina, my partner.

An advice from my father: “Try to work in the creative field, with art or design, and make an impact on the world.