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Floating Forest installation by Stefano Boeri Interiors

Stefano Boeri creates Floating Forest at Milan design week

Italian architect Stefano Boeri has collaborated with shoe brand Timberland to create a "floating forest" on the Darsena dock as part of this year's Milan design week.

Created by Stefano Boeri Interiors, the Floating Forest installation aimed to promote the idea of regreening urban areas while also showcasing Timberland's environmentally focused product innovations.

Located on the Darsena, a former dock in Milan's Navigli district, the island contained 610 plants from 30 different species, including maple, birch and apple trees, and aronia berry, hydrangea, mahonia and pittosporum bushes.

Floating garden filled with trees on a river
The Floating Forest installation was created for Timberland

At four points on the path through the installation, Timberland products or brand values are featured.

One exhibit prompts visitors to scan a QR code for an augmented-reality experience and another suggests you "leave your footprint and be part of the change".

Boeri explained that the Floating Forest began with the idea of presenting something "totally unexpected" and developed into a demonstration of the power of urban greening to combat climate change and improve people's quality of life.

Entrance to Floating Forest installation with Timberland logo
The installation features more than 30 species of plants

"For us, it is a demonstration that it is possible," said Boeri. "It is one of the ways to demineralise the surfaces of our mineral urban environments."

"We know so well the advantages of this intensity and density of plants and trees: they clean the air, they absorb CO2, they produce oxygen and they reduce the heat."

The Floating Forest had originally been planned for Milan design week 2020, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stefano Boeri Interiors and Timberland wanted the project to leave a legacy for the city, so with the close of the event, the trees will be donated to Soulfood Forestfarms Hub Italia – a nonprofit dedicated to transitioning land to biodiverse, regenerative "forestfarms" that merge agriculture and timber production.

Timberland shoe presented within Floating Forest installation
The installation includes Timberland products

The trees may be used at one of the group's projects at Vettabbia Park in Milan. The materials used to build Floating Forest can also be reused, as they were dry assembled so they can easily be pulled apart.

Stefano Boeri Interiors is the multidisciplinary studio of Boeri and fellow architect Giorgio Donà.

Wall text on floating forest installation reads "leave your footprint and be part of the change"
The installation's trees will be donated and the materials reused

Boeri's best known projects involve plants in features such as vertical gardens and include the Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex, the first of which opened earlier this year.

Milan design week took place from 6 to 12 June 2022 in Milan, Italy. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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