housing four seasons under one roof: carlo ratti's pavilion for salone del mobile
 

housing four seasons under one roof: carlo ratti's pavilion for salone del mobile

each year, salone del mobile marks the beginning of spring in milan. however, as the flowers bloom, there is a place in the city where it is still winter. in piazza del duomo, adjacent to the city’s towering cathedral, a pavilion designed by carlo ratti preserves all four seasons beneath one roof — in one corner there are snow ball fights, while in the next room an ice-cream melts.

carlo ratti living nature
spring has sprung in time for salone del mobile
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

 

 

developed by carlo ratti associati (CRA) for salone del mobile, the structure has been designed as a fun experience for milan’s famous design week — but it also carries a serious message. with the advent of more sporadic weather patterns, where it can feel like winter one day and summer the next, the project considers the effects of climate change that are eroding our traditional conception of seasons.

carlo ratti living nature
petals fall from the trees in the spring setting
image by salone del mobile

 

 

from now until april 25, 2018, visitors can experience the four seasons housed inside the 500 square-meter, 5-meter high pavilion. every ten minutes, ten people are admitted, allowing them to intimately experience the project’s contrasting interiors. each realm will be decorated with seasonal plants from around the world — selected by patrick blanc and flavio pollano — as well as many of italy’s premier furniture brands, including arper, cappellini, ethimo, glas italia, kartell, living divani, magis, and moroso.

carlo ratti living nature
strolling through a winter wonderland
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

 

 

aside from visitor enjoyment, the concept aims to explore two other important themes: the relationship between nature and the city, and the effects of climate change on all of us. in the 20th century, cities expanded outwards to conquer nature and the countryside,’ says carlo ratti. ‘we believe that today’s challenge is the opposite: how can we bring nature back to the city and into the home?’

carlo ratti living nature
the winter setting includes mini snowmen and snow-covered trees
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

 

 

the plants in the pavilion are housed under a 5-meter-high selective crystal membrane that dynamically filters the sun based on input from light-reactive sensors. above the pavilion, photovoltaic panels generate clean energy, providing the required energy to cool the winter area, or to heat the summer space. batteries provide additional storage to even out high and low peaks of energy production.

carlo ratti living nature
the seasons are divided by glass partitions
image by salone del mobile

 

 

‘as designers, I think today we find ourselves at an utopia-or-oblivion crossroads,’ adds ratti. ‘oblivion, if we are not able to rise to the challenge of the changes underway. utopia, if we succeed in becoming the creators of transformation in the ‘artificial world’, starting with our cities and our homes. living nature aims to foster a new debate on sustainability — what if the next frontier of design is to reimagine urban climate?’

carlo ratti living nature
relaxing in the pavilion’s summer area
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

carlo ratti living nature
the summer area is noticeably warmer than the others
image by salone del mobile

housing four seasons under one roof: carlo ratti's pavilion for salone del mobile
limited entry keeps the pavilion calm and personal
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

carlo ratti living nature
a cozy chair to fall into
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

carlo ratti living nature
scribit, a drawing robot also designed by CRA, is also on view
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

carlo ratti living nature
the four zones are organized around a central square
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

carlo ratti living nature
ten people are admitted every ten minutes
image by salone del mobile

carlo ratti living nature
the pavilion is located just outside milan’s palazzo reale
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

carlo ratti living nature
the pavilion is on view from now until april 25, 2018
image by delfino sisto legnani and marco cappelletti

 

 

project info:

 

name: living nature. la natura dell’abitare
CRA team: carlo ratti, giovanni de niederhausern, antonio atripaldi (project lead), isabella artana, chiara borghi, rui guan, nicola scaramuzza, anna scaravella,
concept design: carlo ratti associati and studio römer
design development: carlo ratti associati
set design: studio römer
engineering consultant: ai studio (carlo micono, guido zanzottera, rosamaria miraglino)
landscape and botanics: patrick blanc, flavio pollano
construction: PAC team expo
graphics: studio FM milano

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