at milan design week 2021, energy company eni and CRA-carlo ratti associati will exhibit an installation titled ‘natural capital’. the project will show the role plants play in producing oxygen in what aims to be one of the largest data visualizations ever produced. the installation will be located in milan’s brera botanical garden as part of INTERNI’s ‘creative connections’ exhibition. 

carlo ratti's floating spheres will show how much CO2 trees store at milan design week
all images courtesy of CRA-carlo ratti associati



the project by CRA-carlo ratti associati and eni shows how much CO2 each individual tree species can capture and store, aiming to demonstrate the key role that trees play in producing oxygen. it promotes forestry protection instead of deforestation by illustrating how the same amount of CO2 would be released in the atmosphere if the trees were removed. ‘natural capital’ showcases eni’s commitment to forestry initiatives, and will open to the public during the milan design week 2021 as part of INTERNIs ‘creative connections’ exhibition, from 4 to 12 september 2021.

 carlo ratti's floating spheres will show how much CO2 trees store at milan design week



the installation experiments with a giant data visualization that extends over a 500-square-meter garden. a series of floating bubbles are nestled amongst the vegetation of brera botanical garden, one of the country’s most fascinating urban gardens, which sits in the center of italy’s design capital. each bubble is of a different size – from a few centimeters to a few meters – in proportion to the amount of carbon dioxide that the corresponding trees can capture and store during their lifecycle. at the entrance to the garden, a giant sphere lies on the ground representing the amount of CO2 produced on average by the human body every year. the contrast between the sphere and the floating bubbles suspended among the branches creates a contrast that portrays the fundamental role that plants play in guaranteeing the planet’s health and limiting global warming. 




project info:


name: natural capital

designers: CRA-carlo ratti associati for eni

creative lead: italo rota

scientific research: alessio fini (università di milano) – results have been obtained from projects smarturban, qualiviva, and life urbangreen

CRA team: carlo ratti, antonio atripaldi (project manager), saverio panata, luca giacolini, chiara borghi, matteo zerbi, nicola scaramuzza, serena giardina, alessandro tassinari, aurora maggio, irem ceri, oliver kazimir

renderings by CRA graphic team: gary di silvio, pasquale milieri, gianluca zimbardi

location: brera botanical garden of the university of milan, italy

date: 4-12 september, 2021