Moving Forest by NL Architects



Dutch architects NL created a forest of 100 trees planted in shopping trolleys at the Urban Play event in Amsterdam, Netherlands, which ended earlier this month. 


The project, called Moving Forest, was inspired by a children's story about a forest that moves at night so people trapped in it can never escape.


Urban Play is an international project by Droog Design, created and curated by Scott Burnham and presented as part of ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008.


The trees were given away at the end of the project. There is a video of the project here.


The following is from NL architects:


Moving Forest

The Moving Forest are 100 trees strapped into 100 shopping-carts lurking around in an urban environment blocking peoples way and forcing passers to act on them.


According to NL’s Gen Yamamoto the idea comes from a story he heard as a child about a forest where the trees move at night so that people would loose there way and could never get out. This story has been haunting him ever since.


In his mind he could imagine people adopting a tree .e.g. homeless could start to take one on their journey through the city. The trees would pop up unexpectedly in small side streets or dark corners or be pushed over a big public square. They would group in smaller groups or be sparkled over the town. Out of liability reasons for the Urban Play event 2 they are fenced in by concrete stones in a neat rectangle. Nevertheless, since they will be placed almost blocking the entire pedestrian area on Piet Heinkade in Amsterdam for a length of about 30 meters, they will surely create a surprising effect.


After the period of 6 weeks when the festival is over, the trees will be sold on to citizens and find a new home. At last then Gen’s Image of trees passing through the city and breaking in on people in hideous spots is coming true.


The Trees are Acer, Red Prunus, Green Prunus, Gleditsia, Berk.


Moving Forest
NL Architects: Pieter Bannenberg, Walter van Dijk, Kamiel Klaasse

Experimenta Design Amsterdam 2008

Droog Design / Urban Play Event 2
Project Manager: Maaike Gottschall

Scott Burnham

Designer / Project Architect:
Gen Yamamoto (Design)
Daan Roggeveen (Organisation)

Posted on Sunday November 30th 2008 at 10:19 pm by Matylda Krzykowski. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • carlo M

    amazing work!!!

  • modular

    Amazing? Why is that?

  • This is wonderful! Congratulations. It should be taken to LA… it will receive a whole new meaning…

  • up

    Perfect solution for state and municipal services. Now, on a complaint of a small number of flowers and trees, the service can respond and correct the situation within an hour))

  • Really great!

  • Lazar

    if the trees were meant to be movable, they would walk by themselves!

  • charlotte


  • romeo

    who is gonna cut this forest? incredible answer

  • OKP

    poor trees. i saw it in real and felt said for the roots :)

  • Ben

    love it

  • alfonso

    Five years ago my diploma project developed a similar idea at a bigger and more interesting scale. But i took it quite further. I miss, for instance, that they dind´t at least study a few possible instant configurations of the forest: that would make the difference from a ramdom surrealistic instalation (maybe enough for this poject) to good architecture/landscaping.

  • NAO



  • michal

    yeah, well, three months ago, i had an amazing idea for a thesis involving potted plants and pushcarts. but i pushed it a lot further. i miss, for instance, that they didn’t take into account hyacinths and drip-watering hoses. also, the immediate impact of the ergonomics of caster wheels is lacking in this project where as in mine, it was completely important. maybe if they were trying to accomplish the same things i was trying to accomplish i would appreciate this project a lot more and not have to comment about how it isn’t the project i proposed.

  • muntman

    “Great Burnham Wood to High
    Dunsinane Hill Shall Come…”
    Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1

  • gaque

    awesome. thank you! more please

  • tiffany

    This is fun!

  • alfonso

    Ok, Michal, i appreciate your jokes.
    But please note I do like this project exactly as it is.

  • m

    It would be cool to actually see these trees grow and mature over years, and not just giving them away.
    What would the park look like when the roots penetrate the wire mesh and the trolleys start to buckle by the weight of the trees. Would be like the Angkor Wat of shopping trolleys.

  • jlbr

    what a stupid idea, poor trees being put into a shopping cart in order to accomplish what? enlarge the already-too-large ego of these so-called artists? giving them away will probably mean at least half of them end up in some garbage dump because it’s too much work for many people to go and plant the trees. the people producing this should have taken the responsibility later to plant them properly.

  • OKP

    i agree fully with jlbr.. its also what happened with a lot of these trees. they ended up being dead..

    why cant we just focuss on more sustainible ways of making parks again. and not let green always get the last inch of where we want to make concrete.. landscape design is a great proffesion and they should look more into real work instead of a joke like a plantpot on wheels.

    sad project.. that people love because its a gimmick ..

  • Bioz Segundo

    GRatis means free , they didnt sell them

  • erj

    Love the mobility and urban commentary!


    This project should be realised in many countries in order to make people realize the problem of deforestation and encourage them to care about environment.
    This is something they wouldn’t simply pass in the street. It catches the attention and makes you wonder; ” What the hall is this?!”
    This is what the work of all the performers and artists is about.

    Pomysł jest w moim odczuciu bardzo fajny, oryginalny i uważam, że powinien być realizowany w wielu miejscach, jako że zwraca na siebie uwagę.

    La idea tan original!

  • thomas

    What happens when it rains and all the soil washes away through the mesh? What a good way to kill healthy trees. I am offended by all the people saying its cool. Don’t you ever think about the consequences the art creates?

  • Thomas:
    there where actually buckets under all this gravel and the soil couldn’t wash away! It was more a problem that the mesh of the shopping cart was too wide – or the gravel to small, so that they would fall through and end up on the pavement blocking the wheels. Well you don’t think of everyhing always…

    all the trees that were not taken by people went to a school for gardening, where they are now being motherd to even better health. The project was taken place in fall, so the trees naturally lost leaves – so it appeared visually maybe not as disney as one might expect – but that’s nature.

    there where people doing set ups – i think there are some pictures of it on flickr. An older gentlemen told me that he spelled out the name of is grandchildren with them, because he live in the house next to it and could watch it from above…

  • leopoldo

    excelente trabajoooooooooooo

  • Go Pieter go!!

  • Nom_de_Guerre

    *warning extreme nerdiness

    Wasn’t there a moving forest- herded by Ents- in Lord of the Rings- The Two Towers (the book not the movie)??

  • lemonade

    it's a interesting story about the planting trees in the shopping cars. i think moving forest is necessary for each of us , which can protect our environment and provide a well climate for us.
    we need it!!!!