City of Tomorrow Bo01, Malmö, Sweden

Location: Malmö, Sweden
Client: European Housing Expo
Size: 256 square meters
Status: Completed 2001

Found amongst the willow-grove for the City of Tomorrow Exhibition in Malmö, our willow stands fluttering in the wind. This willow tree of the future does not depend upon water, soil, temperature, or sunlight. It grows anywhere in the world, in any season. As globalization shrinks the diversity of the world and increases accessibility to information and materials, the tree or garden of the future must meet those demands. The garden of the future can be assembled anywhere. As facsimiles and the virtual replace what was once considered “authentic” or “real,” the constructed willow represents the current trend which will take us into the future.

Our garden measures 16 by 16 meters. The ground of the garden is seasonless, durable, green astro-turf. In the center, a pole or the “tree trunk” of the willow supports a stainless wire “canopy” which holds strands of green Mylar flowing “branches.” The hanging willow branches get shorter vertically toward the center of the tree. This “stepping up” of the Mylar strands creates a hallowing, room-like space recreating one of the most extraordinary qualities of the weeping willow tree. This singular weeping willow makes reference to its use in traditional romantic landscapes, where the interior space of the tree becomes almost a folly within the garden.

Our abstract willow enables the garden visitor to experience not only the vaulted sense of space found within the canopy of this extraordinary tree, but also the sounds the wind makes through its leaves. The rustling of Mylar “branches” reminds one of a “real” willow in the wind, while the mystery of our willow is heightened by sounds of crying women coming from within the tree’s canopy. Located as it is amongst a natural, recently planted grove of willows, our mylar willow brings into question the importance of the “natural” versus the “artificial” in the garden of the future.