Dezeen Magazine

Angelo Renna and Oleksandr Nenenko envision a world dominated by "superorganism" trees

Angelo Renna and Oleksandr Nenenko have proposed covering planet Earth with huge genetically engineered trees, one of 15 finalist projects for Dezeen's Redesign the World competition powered by Twinmotion.

Titled The Word for World is Forest, Renna and Nenenko's proposal envisions "superorganism" trees that absorb 50 per cent more carbon dioxide than typical trees.

The trees would also use less water and are designed to grow fast and survive in turbulent weather conditions.

In Renna and Nenenko's imagined future, humans live in symbiosis with non-human species and are the "guardians of the forest". Plants are no longer considered "ornamental" but are vital to human survival and culture.

The concept is inspired by Ursula K Le Guin's 1972 novella of the same name, which is about a fictional planet that is completely covered by forest.

Read more about the proposal below.

The Word for World is Forest visualisation

The Word for World is Forest
Angelo Renna and Oleksandr Nenenko
Amsterdam, Netherlands

"In 1972, Ursula K Le Guin published the book The Word for World is Forest, a science-fiction novella in which a fictional planet is completely covered by a forest and inhabited by non-violent people capable of lucid dreaming.

"As in Le Guin's story, in our proposal for the Redesign the World competition, the forest and world are two meanings and one.

"We imagine the earth completely covered by a forest made with special genetically engineered trees – superorganisms able to grow faster and survive in extreme weather conditions using less water and absorbing 50 per cent more carbon dioxide than normal trees.

"In this new environment, humans live in symbiosis with the forest. They are the guardians.

"The substance of their world is not earth but forest, within which humans and non-humans co-inhabit a common political space sharing life and death, dreams and myths.

"It is a place in which culture and nature blur in one entity, including all the forms of life and their thoughts.

"For too long, we (humans) have considered plants just like a cosmic ornament, inessential elements, pure decoration of our living places. Plants don't run and fly. They stay there where they are.

"The world for them is condensed in the portion of soil and sky they occupy in total communion with the surrounding environment. We will never be able to fully understand a plant without having understood what the world is."

Redesign the World logo

Redesign the World

Redesign the World is the ultimate design competition, which called for new ideas to rethink planet Earth to ensure that it remains habitable long into the future.

Launched in partnership with Epic Games, the contest asked entrants to visualise their concepts using architectural visualisation software Twinmotion.

The contest received over 100 entries from more than 30 different countries around the world.

These were assessed by a judging panel comprising White Arkitekter CEO Alexandra Hagen, structural engineer Hanif Kara, speculative architect Liam YoungTwinmotion product marketing manager Belinda Ercan and Dezeen founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs, which selected 15 proposals as finalists to be published on Dezeen.

We are unveiling one finalist a day throughout our Dezeen 15 festival, culminating in the winner being announced on 19 November.

The winner will receive the top prize of £5,000. There are also prizes of £2,500 for second place, £1,000 for third place and £500 each for the remaining finalists.

Find out more about Redesign the World ›
See all the finalists revealed so far ›