The unmistakable and mysterious allure of mazes has been a constant inspiration for us. The mind of a designer can often be like a maze: turning the corner only to catch glimpse of an idea not yet fully realised or turning again to chance upon an unexpected solution. Our love of mazes as a symbol of letting go to the process has us dreaming of these intricate, magical places. Whether its the formal play between soft flowing shapes, trimmed and tucked rigid geometry and interlocking spaces, or its symbolism of serenity and introspection, they keep us coming back to get lost all over again!
Here we’ve collected a few of our favourite mazes around the world for you to explore.
1. Jardin de Marqueyssac, France An absolute favourite of ours are the gardens at the 17th century Château de Marqueyssac near Sarlat, France. The grounds were transformed by its owner Julien de Lavergne in the late 19th century. Inspired by Italian gardens he created a beautiful sculptural landscape which features 150,000 individual box plants as well as pines, oaks and cypress and is accessed by 6 kilometers of meandering pathways. The gardens display a delightful contrast between more natural, romantic-style sections to punctuated geometric forms against the dramatic backdrop of the Dordogne valley.
2. Il Labirinto Stra, Italy One of the most famous mazes, the labyrinth of the Villa Pisano, was created in 1720. With its nine concentric rings, it has a reputation of being the most difficult maze to solve, legend has it even Napoleon was stumped! Once the visitor tackles the maze they can climb the spiral staircase of the central turret to catch a perfect view of the puzzle.
3. Longleat Hedge Maze, Bath UK We’re obsessed with the cerebral-like pattern of the Longleat Hedge maze. It is the largest maze in Britain, featuring 16,000 English yew trees laid out by designer Greg Bright in 1975 as part of the 8,000 acres that have been the home of the Marquesses of Bath since the 16th century. Unlike other mazes Longleat’s maze features six wooden bridges which offer the opportunity for a tantalising peek over the hedges before descending again into the labyrinth. The ultimate goal is to reach the central tower.
4. Ashcombe Maze, Vic Australia If you’re ever on the beautiful Morning Peninsula in Victoria we highly recommend a visit to the Ashcombe Maze, Australia’s oldest and most famous hedge maze. The gardens also features a lavender labyrinth and the oldest rose maze with 217 rose varieties. The traditional hedge maze is planted with more than 1000 cypress trees and thousands of metres of pathways.
5. Leeds Castle Maze, Kent UK The Leeds Castle Maze was planted in 1988 consists of 2,400 yew trees. Its cyclical pattern is set in a square adding to its difficulty and when viewed from the centre, its plan mirrors a queen’s crown. Once you’ve reached the centre of the maze, return to civilisation through a grotto, complete with mythical beasts created from shells, designed by Simon Verity and Diana Reynell.