Architect Stefano Boeri has teamed up with Timberland to create a tree-filled pavilion that floats upon Milan’s Darsena waters, in a bid to showcase the importance of urban greening in the fight against the climate crisis.

Boeri and his team were commissioned by Timberland to create an installation for the city’s Salone del Mobile design festival, which would educate the public about the importance of regenerative materials and practices. The resulting “Floating Forest” installation features over 600 plants and 30 species, which have each been studied and selected for their environmental benefits when used in cities.

“This Floating Forest is a green graft in the heart of Milan, an ecosystem with a very high variety of species, capable of multiplying natural biodiversity that will activate environmental benefits associated with urban forestry also in connection with other green spaces in the city,” Boeri said.

The pavilion is accessible from the canalside via two entrances. Inside, pathways lead visitors around the ‘forest’, with information about Timberland’s own sustainability efforts presented throughout. The scents of the selected flora and fauna are present, and are within reaching distance for the visitors to touch.

Designed to be multisensory, the path through the installation stops at four fundamental points related to different senses and enables visitors to learn more through VR experiences. Experience 01 showcases the brand’s “Timberloop Take Back Program”, which encourages customers to return their worn products to be either repaired for resale, or disassembled for reuse and recycling. Experience 02 is dedicated to the brand’s GreenStride soles, which are made from 75 percent renewable sugar cane and rubber from trees.

Lastly, Experience 03 looks beyond the brand and out to the city, and through AR interventions explains the positive impact that nature could have on the Milanese environment. When the installation closes, all of the trees will be donated to a local nonprofit organisation, while the materials used to create it will be reused once dismantled.

“The Floating Forest’s goal is not only to convey new forms of environmental responsibility and new ways of occupying and transforming urbanized spaces but to offer a place of intersection and reconciliation between the natural sphere and human beings,” said the brand.

Floating Forest is open until June 12, as part of Milan Design Week. Elsewhere in the city, film director Luca Guadagnino has unveiled a collection of furniture inside an installation that takes its cues from the work of Italian architectural icon Carlo Scarpa.

Milano Darsena
Viale Gabriele D’Annunzio 20
20123 Milano
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