Here’s an interesting new take on trying to bridge the chasm between the undeveloped and urban worlds: a public art installation that uses the mirrored interior of a huge box to evoke an “endless forest.”
The Unlimited Urban Woods installation was designed by DUS Architects and installed as a temporary piece of public art in Oosterdokskade, Amsterdam. Using one real tree as the centerpiece of the “forest” in the middle of the box, the designers placed mirrors strategically along the walls of the box to make it look as though an infinite stretch of forest is all around the viewer.
This is clever. From the pictures it seems nicely executed. I like what the designers are doing here. But despite all that, I have to admit that it makes me feel almost lonely. Are cities and city residents so deprived of restorative natural elements like trees and dirt that we’ve been reduced to literally using smoke and mirrors to emulate the psychological benefits they provide?
I hope that this installation is a little bit ironic and that people don’t come away from it without considering the larger questions it raises about urban tree canopies. Really effective art stays with the viewer and provides ongoing inspiration — I hope this is one of those pieces that persuades designers and citizens to reconsider the importance of integrating trees, flowers and shrubs into urban spaces.