'Floating Forest', a multisensory miniature ecosystem by Stefano Boeri Interiors

Conceived as an immersive green installation on Darsena at Milan Design Week 2022, Floating Forest pedagogies ways to transform cities into greener and healthier places.

by STIRworldPublished on : Jun 09, 2022

The incredible work showcased by designers from all across the globe at Milan Design Week 2022 has been primarily and strongly focused on creating a sustainable future for the world. Following the theme of 'Designing for our future selves', the Italian multi-disciplinary design studio, Stefano Boeri Interiors, founded by Stefano Boeri and Giorgio Donà, has come up with an installation titled Floating Forest, justifying the nomenclature in both form and function. Presented by Timberland, the module promotes urban greening, which can potentially serve as a tool in combatting the effects of climate change, along with proving to be a beacon, a microcosm for restoring biodiversity, and to leave a legacy for generations to come.

  • The installation eponymously appears like a floating island of flora on the waters of Darsena | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    The installation eponymously appears like a floating island of flora on the waters of Darsena Image: Daniela Di Corleto
  • The expansive multi-sensory installation has been commissioned and presented by Timberland | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    The expansive multi-sensory installation has been commissioned and presented by Timberland Image: Daniela Di Corleto
  • Entry to the immersive installation through the Darsena di Milano waterfront | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    Entry to the immersive installation through the Darsena di Milano waterfront Image: Daniela Di Corleto

The design aims to provide a workable paradigm, a pragmatic albeit scaled-down solution to weave factors like greenery and public health into the current urban fabric, keeping in mind the critical role nature plays in maintaining this balance for our cities. Emphasising the vision of an equitable future, the project also aims to inspire the concept of circularity, wherein nothing goes to waste and each component can be given a second life.

  • Bird’s eye view of the installation on the waters of Darsena | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    Bird’s eye view of the installation on the waters of Darsena Image: Daniela Di Corleto
  • The entire installation features dry assemblage of materials | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    The entire installation features dry assemblage of materials Image: Daniela Di Corleto
  • The installation proposes a new interactive urban paradigm that tends to urban greening and better livability | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    The installation proposes a new interactive urban paradigm that tends to urban greening and better livability Image: Daniela Di Corleto

Installed on the waters of the Darsena in Milan, Floating Forest is poised as a meaningful attraction that is also instantly recognisable, offering not just an environment where the visitor can rediscover the importance of biodiversity, but also engage with an immersive multi-sensory experience. The forest has been conceived and formulated as an independent ecosystem, with 610 plants and 30 species that amplify local biodiversity and seek to activate environmental benefits related to urban forestry in connection with other green spaces in Milan. In addition, various trees, including maple, birch, and apple, along with bushes such as the Aronia berry, Hydrangea, Mahonia, and Pittosporum, and perennial grasses like Stipa, Eulalia, Anemone, Daylily, Purple Verbena, and Pampas constitute the ‘forest’.

  • Various species of plants and trees are planted in a sequential pattern | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    Various species of plants and trees are planted in a sequential pattern Image: Daniela Di Corleto
  • Subtle cove lighting guides the pathway through the installation | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    Subtle cove lighting guides the pathway through the installation Image: Daniela Di Corleto

The path through the installation has four fundamental points related to different senses and leads visitors to interact with the latest ecological product design innovations by the studio. Following the same path, the visitor can have a sensorially rich experience through the scent of the flowers and the tactile qualities of the species displayed. The sensory elements are brought together through an on-site digital experience, while the experience also remains available online for those unable to attend the Fuorisalone event.

  • The plantation in the installation promotes a multisensorial experience through flowering plants and grasses | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    The plantation in the installation promotes a multisensorial experience through flowering plants and grasses Image: Daniela Di Corleto
  • The installation promotes the motto of the brand Timberland through the display | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    The installation promotes the vision of the brand Timberland through the display Image: Daniela Di Corleto
  • The evolution of the products manufactured by Timberland is displayed | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    The evolution of the products manufactured by Timberland is displayed Image: Daniela Di Corleto

The green interactive installation sets a great example of generating zero waste for displays of this nature, since the installation materials are deliberately dry assembled. This technique allows complete flexibility during the assembly and reassembly phases and the reuse of individual elements once the installation is dismissed. Leaving behind a legacy for the city of Milan post its intended life cycle during the Milan Design Week, the project also supports the local community by donating all the trees showcased to Soulfood Forestfarms Hub Italia. The nonprofit organisation facilitates the ecological transition of territories together with local communities, institutions, and businesses.

  • Stefano Boeri speak at the opening of the installation in Milan during Milan Design Week | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    Stefano Boeri speaks at the opening of the installation during Milan Design Week 2022 Image: Daniela Di Corleto
  • View of the installation during dusk | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    View of the installation at dusk Image: Daniela Di Corleto

The 'floating forest' conveys a new form of environmental responsibility and new ways of occupying and transforming urbanised spaces, along with a place of intersection and reconciliation between the natural sphere and human beings. It aims to build a space for social interaction where the gap between the urban and natural worlds stands significantly reduced.

  • A conceptual sketch of the installation by Stefano Boeri | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    A conceptual sketch of the installation by Stefano Boeri Image: Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Interiors
  • Architect Stefano Boeri with Giorgio Donà working on the conception of Floating Forest | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    Architect Stefano Boeri with Giorgio Donà working on the conception of Floating Forest Image: Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Interiors
  • An earlier visualisation of the installation | Floating Forest | Stefano Boeri Interiors | STIRworld
    An earlier visualisation of the installation Image: Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Interiors

The installation is on view from June 7 to 12 at Viale Gabriele D'Annunzio, 20 (Darsena).

STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.

(Text by Navisha Sogani, intern at STIRworld)

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