The Secret Garden

This project by Paola Navone and Zaha Hadid features flashes of electric blue among a botanical oasis in urban Milan.

Wandering through the Brera district during the Milan Furniture Fair is like being a kid in a candy store. There are so many delights to choose from, with a new experience around every corner. Finding The Secret Garden was one of them. A banner outside a small walkway in a back street invited passers-by to enter. A gravel pathway covered with a small black carpet led to an even longer walkway and an immense carpet that featured the names of botanical specimens in its pattern. At the end of this path was the Orto Botanico, an enormous garden bounded on each side by Milanese apartment blocks. Discovering this botanical feast in the middle of one of Milan’s most populous neighbourhoods was a revelation.

The vibrancy of the cobalt blue domes is visible through the fronds of the trees.

The vibrancy of the cobalt blue domes is visible through the fronds of the trees.

Image: Michael Stone

In the garden, beds of flowers, vegetables and herbs were guarded by small gnome-like figurines made of glass, with bright red lampshades set on upturned logs of wood. A series of electric blue domes designed by Paola Navone were artfully spaced throughout the garden, each a different size. These were woven from fifteen thousand hazelnut branches collected from spring pruning. The interiors were covered with silver foil and small window slits allowed visitors to see the treasures inside. These included blown-glass chandeliers by Barovier & Toso – a light fitting of clear glass in one dome, aqua and cobalt blue chandeliers in another, and the most impressive of all, one massive clear and multicoloured glass chandelier. In another section of the garden, a pavilion with inlaid marble surfaces by Citco, designed in conjunction with Zaha Hadid, stood majestic in form yet in harmony with its surroundings. Unexpected beauty in a natural wonderland, this is one secret garden that is more beautiful for the sharing.

Design Practices
Paola Navone
Corso San Gottardo 22
20136 Milano
paolanavone.it

Zaha Hadid
10 Bowling Green Lane
EC1R 0BQ London
zaha-hadid.com

Brand
Barovier & Toso
barovier.com
Supplied by Euroluce
euroluce.com.au

Source

Review

Published online: 1 Sep 2012
Words: Jan Henderson
Images: Michael Stone

Issue

Artichoke, September 2012

Related topics

More review

See all
Francis Kéré talking on video. Panic is not on the agenda: Deerubbin 2020

As COVID-19 began to bite in the middle of March, the Deerubbin architecture conference on a secluded island took on an air of urgency.

Prahran Square by Lyons Architecture and Aspect Studios. Car park to plaza conversion fails to square with locals

The redevelopment of a supermarket car park in Melbourne’s Prahran promised an inviting and welcoming open space. But local architect Domenic Cerantonio says the result …

Landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom, from Landprocess, shared lessons from Bangkok. Defiant and spirited: The Architecture Symposium, Brisbane

At The Architecture Symposium, Brisbane, held on 13 March 2020, eight speakers reflected on the theme of water, refracting their architectural output through its unifying, …

Nightingale Village by Kennedy Nolan. Equality, diversity and global challenges

The 2020 International Women’s Day gives pause to reflect on what an “equal, enabled” world means in the face of global challenges.

Most read

Latest on site

Calendar