Hundreds of fallen trees memorialise the recent cyclone disaster in northern Italy

“Into the forest” brings a reflection on global climate change right in the core of an Italian city, with a series of installations for the first World Forum on Urban Forests.

openfebric - into the forest 2018

Forest and city as one: less and less a weird association, not an unprecedented  one for sure, more and more an asset to set a higher quality of urban life, operating within environmental reality rather than just in the realm of theory or aesthetics.

The first World Forum on Urban Forests has just taken place in Mantua, promoted by FAO, Politecnico di Milano, SISAF and the city of Mantova itself, to explore and communicate such scenario; the Dutch-Italian landscape design firm Openfabric was selected to design an exhibition linking the two terms of the question (city and forest) by dragging nature a little closer to the realm of architectural design.

“Into the forest aims to engage with both the academic level of the forum and the wider public — as a concept to be potentially adopted by cities at a global scale. It wants to critically represent a number of forest typologies rising both awareness on the importance of nature in urban environments and on the dramatic effects of climate change.

The most powerful installation is the Fallen Forest, recreating a portion of post-apocalyptic landscape as a memorial for the millions of trees victim to the effect of climate tropicalisation through the cyclone that hit north-east Italy on 2 November 2018.

In the city centre, establishing dialogues with a medieval and Renaissance urban scenery including landmarks such as Leon Battista Alberti’s church of Sant’Andrea, two different circle-based installations find their place to join the conversation.

The Mediterranean Forest recalls the role of evergreen oak forest in shaping the character of Mediterranean landscapes, as a strategic resource along the history of human societies in the region, providing direct and indirect goods and benefits, as fuelwood, cork, food and fodder, timber, shelter.

The Native Forest evokes instead a fragment of the ancient forest formations widely covering the Po Valley before the massive transformation to agriculture and urban land cover. Dominated by oaks and hornbeam trees, such lowlands forests currently survive only in a few small patches, protected as nature reserves, as they constitute a proper heritage asset.

The World Forum on Urban Forests took place 28 November – 1 December 2018. 

Into the Forest
Client and promoters:
Comune di Mantova, FAO, Sisef, Politecnico di Milano
Design team:
Francesco Garofalo, Matteo Motti, Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian, Caterina Malavolti, Mattia Tettoni, Amina Chouaïri

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