Wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve done one of these!
However, if you are a regular receiver of the Oakleigh Journal, our monthly e-newsletter, you may be familiar with the fact that Rupert Davis, the Chartered Landscape Architect who had been with us for many years, has moved on to pastures new. Due to that development, we recently welcomed Victor Grennan to our Garden Design team! Since October 1st, he has been a fantastic addition to the company and after some requests for a new blog in our outstandingly-popular Employee Spotlight Series, it is with great pleasure that I can introduce to you the man himself!
The first impression I received from Victor when I met him was that of a very interesting man. I wasn’t wrong!
His story of how he has journeyed from the Dublin, the capital of the Emerald Isle, to here in Dargate may not be one his envisaged early in his life, but both parties certainly are glad of it now! An artistic role is something he always wanted to do. He tells me that when he received his Leaving Certificate, he ignored all of his grades and scanned to his grade for Art, to which he achieved an A. Tongue-in-cheek or not, this was great news for Victor, as this meant he could attend art college.
That is precisely what he did; at 18 he attended the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology to study Design Communication. Five years later and he had finalised in Production Design, where he studied the ins-and-outs of designing film sets. This had him working in the television arena, predominantly for Fair City, the most popular soap opera in Ireland. From there, he moved to theatre set design and even on a short film that was shortlisted for an Academy Award! Quite incredible, really.
But it doesn’t end there; afterward, he moved to London, where he was juggling his time working on a film as an Art Director, where he was rubbing shoulders at premiers at Empire and meeting Irish comedian Ed Byrne, but also working as a hard landscaper! This was to raise funds for his later education. He did this for over four years, alongside his set design work, flying across the Irish sea to also guest lecture at his alma mater and the IFI.
At this point in our chat, I queried whether or not he has ever had a day off! But he continued to be as busy as ever as we continued to delve into his past. He worked on the horticultural side of landscaping for five years during his studies for his Diploma in Garden Design, which he achieved at the renowned Capel Manor College in Enfield. This took two years to complete, part-time. From there, he went on to finish he Masters Degree, which took two-and-a-half years, also part-time.
He informed me that despite the fact that he arduous journey was worthwhile to be where he is today, working obscene hours with barely any respite was ‘torture’! But all was said with a smile on his face, much like everything else.
In Victor’s words, the transition between film sets and garden design isn’t traditionally ‘rock-and-roll’, but he loves it. In fact, his approach to the designing of a new garden isn’t much different to that he would’ve taken in the designing of a film set. He likes to empty the space, using light and shadow to full effect and to tackle the space with nothing within. Of course, in the world of landscape architecture, there is always a tree or the ilk around the area, but he likes to work around this. However, he favourite medium is to ‘dress the area’ afterwards.
The conversation we had only lasted around 20 minutes or so, but it was very enjoyable to watch. However, for me, the favourite parts were about his working on a play written by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, and working on the same film set as Denise van Houten, but by his own admission, not having the guts to go and say hello!
Photo courtesy of victorgrennan.com
Oakleigh Manor Limited are a multi-disciplinary company specialising in providing all outdoor needs under one roof, for all size and styles of external spaces. Our expertise has led us to numerous national awards, but what fuels us every day is the ethos we adopt: to create unique, bespoke projects. You can see perfect examples of these by looking at our Artificial Grass page.
This article was written by Lewis