Milan 2018 – Salone del mobile engaged Carlo Ratti to design a Living Nature garden pavilion making use of an innovative energy management system for climate control. Visitors are immersed in nature as they wander through winter, spring, summer and autumn. Each season is enriched by a display of familiar design objects.
The 500 square-meter, 5-meter high pavilion, whose green spaces were curated by Patrick Blanc and Flavio Pollano, aims to explore two crucial themes: the relationship between nature and the city, and the effects of climate change on all of us. “In the 20th century, cities expanded outwards to conquer nature and the countryside. We believe that today’s challenge is the opposite – how can we bring nature back to the city and in the house”, says Carlo Ratti.
“In recent years, Milan has been at the forefront of such research with landmark projects such as Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale. ‘Living Nature’ continues this line of thought, raising new questions related to sustainability in the domestic and collective spheres”.
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The pavilion houses four natural, climatic microcosms, corresponding to the four seasons. The plants in the pavilion are housed under a responsive Crystal membrane that dynamically filters the sun based on input from light-reactive sensors.
Above the pavilion, photovoltaic panels generate clean power, providing the required energy to cool the winter area, or to heat the summer space. “Living Nature” bonds nature’s cycles and domestic spaces, through a series of rooms and familiar areas, each of them furnished according to a different theme.
“As designers, I think today we find ourselves at an utopia-or-oblivion crossroads”, adds Carlo Ratti. “Oblivion, if we are not able to rise to the challenge of the changes underway. Utopia, if we succeed in becoming the creators of transformation in the “artificial world”, starting with our cities and our homes. Living Nature aims to foster a new debate on sustainability – what if the last frontier of design is to reimagine urban climate?”.
All images by Delfino Sisto Legnani, courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati.
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