Sylvia Karres and Bart Brands founded Karres and Brands landscape architects in 1997. Since then the office has worked on a wide variety of projects, studies and design competitions in the Netherlands and internationally. Our work encompasses all levels of scale and all aspects of the public domain. From small-scale interventions such as street furniture, detailing of public spaces, gardens and parks, to urban development plans and strategic assignments. Every project is approached through a diversity of scales and disciplines, without assuming any presupposed hierarchy: after all, every level of scale can potentially exert a major influence on the final plan. This also results in various forms of partnership with representatives of other disciplines from outside of the office. The office works with architects, artists, social scientists, ecologists and technicians.
For centuries, the most important instrument for the landscape architect was the factor of time. In our vision, design and research should result in a physical public space that is not so much an end product, but something that under our direction can constantly respond to changes over time. Design proposals should take more account of the ‘uncertainty factor’, with more space being left for individual initiatives and unforeseen influences. In this way, projects and processes arise that are intimately connected with the place and its users, so enhancing the quality of our living environment. It is not a question of a chosen aesthetic, but the guidance of a new and often unexpected process that influences the manifestation of public space and urban development. This means taking risks, but also calls for expertise and professionalism. Our designs are created in close dialogue with clients, users and other stakeholders. The process of interaction between all those concerned influences and transforms the design, without compromising the power of its identity. When this process takes place under good leadership a new form of beauty is created, and here lies the true quality of the design.