On Design: Raymond Jungles

On Design: Raymond Jungles

June 15, 2005
Photo by: Jon Whittle

Q: Who is your favorite artist?

A: Roberto Burle Marx. He was a painter, musician, sculptor, garden designer, and lifestyle artist. A great inspiration.

Q: What client request do you most dread?

A: Topiary. I won't do it.
Q: Who or what prompted you to go into landscape design?

A: Love of nature and being outdoors.

Q: How important are trends to your work?
A: Trends which reveal new technology and advancement of existing technology are worth paying attention to. Other than that I am for the timeless.

Q: Lawns — for or against?

A: Lawns have their place as spatial definers, play areas, and "soft terraces" for entertaining. They should not be used in an environment that is arid or semi-arid. They should be minimal and are generally a pain. I like to use other mowable or genetically low plants for the majority of an open expanse of a garden.

Q: Name one plant that you think should be more widely used.

A: Hemp for paper, etc?.

Q: Where do you go to watch people?

A: New York or any beach.

Q: Which architect, living or dead, would you most like to work with?

A: Architect, there are many of them. I'm sympathetic to the idea of architecture that expresses itself through the creation of appropriately illuminated spaces using natural light; spaces which reach out to and integrate the natural or exterior environment. Architecture that expresses and utilizes the most advanced technologies of the contemporary age or culture. Architecture that acknowledges man's impact on the great planet earth. Our home. That said the architect, poet, landscape architect, Luis Barragan, strived for all of the above. Simplicity to me is not boring but a goal.

Q: Which contemporary designer, in any field, do you find most interesting?

A: Calatrava's bridge designs are elegant and graceful. There are many others. My hat's off to any designer who wins the fight to create unique, personal, sensitive solutions to man's built environment.

Q: What is your favorite movie — for the scenery?

A: The Mission filmed at Foz Iguasu, or perhaps, yes Greystroke, I think it was ?that Tarzan movie. Any movie which highlights one of nature's incredible natural systems, forest, meadow, lake, sea, mountains, desert, jungle, etc?.


About Raymond Jungles:

Mr. Jungles worked in the landscape nursery trade as a student in high school in Ohio. Upon graduation he moved to Florida where he developed an interest in design and architecture and decided to pursue the degree of Landscape Architecture. One of his earliest influences was the Mexican master Luis Barragan.

Raymond later became acquainted with the work of the great Roberto Burle Marx through the Tropical Gardens of Roberto Burle Marx, as a student at the University of Florida. Mr. Marx came to lecture there in 1979, they met, and a friendship/mentorship later ensued. 

Raymond graduated from the University of Florida with high honors in 1981 and began his own design/build practice, and he founded Raymond Jungles, Incorporated in 1983. Raymond credits Burle Marx with generally imparting much insight and inspiration while reviewing plans and visiting his gardens in Miami. Mr. Marx opened his own estate to Raymond, and led him through many of his projects throughout Brazil. Burle Marx, honored Raymond by asking him to design and construct the columnar bromeliad sculpture, which appeared in his Museum of Modern Art, exhibition in New York.

Mr. Jungles primarily designs private gardens, residential in nature, but has worked on numerous communities and resort hotels. Most of his work is in Florida and the Caribbean region. He currently has projects in the design or construction phase in Florida, Antigua, Grenada and Panama. Botanical gardens are a favorite of Mr. Jungles, who has done much work at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami, and recently completed the master plan for the Key West Botanical Garden. 
He frequently lectures at garden and plant society functions, and has twice been selected as a member of the Design Awards Jury for the Broward County, Florida, American Institute of Architects society. Mr. Jungles has won seventeen Design Awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects, in which ten of them were for the Award of Excellence. The University of Florida named him its Most Distinguished Alumni in 2000. His Florida peers have nominated him for Fellowship in the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2002 and 2003. The Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recently honored him as the Landscape Architect of the year. 

Projects by Mr. Jungles have been featured in over fifteen books. Profiles of him have appeared on the front cover in the New York Times, Thursday Design section, Garden Design Journal, Traditional Homes magazine and Southern Accents magazine, as well as more than 26 national and international publications. 

More information can be can be found by visiting his website at raymondjungles.com.