top of page

A forest on Mars

For the 56th edition of the design week, Palazzo Litta is once again the stage for design and architecture. Every year precisely for this event, the baroque palace transforms its courtyard into a place that houses temporary architecture. In the past edition it hosted the installation of a prestigious architecture studio, Diller Scofidio + renfro, this year it hosts an important emerging London architect, Asif Khan , already known for his temporary pavilions, such as the one for the Olympics in London 2012, Beatbox Cocacola, or the one for the Sochi Winter Olympics, Megaface, both structures integrated with hi-tech materials, which evoke futuristic scenarios. The pavilion designed this year recalls the natural environment, but an orderly, regular environment, made of verticality and natural materials, evoking a tree and its ramifications in a simple wooden pillar. With this simplicity, the courtyard is charged with infinite meanings and values ​​that it is up to us to seek and grasp. The installation is of great impact, as soon as you enter the building the environment appears to be colored red, given the color of the wood of the pillars. Asif Khan uses this treatment to evoke the Red Planet, Mars, recreating a new futuristic scenario, this time through color.

Khan himself states that "... the main challenge was to establish a dialogue with the building, with verticality ..." and this is perceived by the visitor who enters is amazed and intrigued by a calm and orderly space, which almost transmits a sense of awe and evokes the same mysticism of a gothic cathedral. From fear we move on to the search, that of a stop, a safe place, a seat or a hammock clinging to the pillars. The search becomes tranquility, isolated from the noise of the city, the metro, the buses, in a different place and in another time.

These are the three sensations I felt while crossing space.




Which end in the latter, in the colonization of space, with the gravel crunching underfoot and the smell of wood. A place to think, to be silent. The step of pillars creates corridors, horizontal passages.

Looking up you really feel in a forest. In the exasperated verticalism that simulates trees with long trunks, one feels part of the same nature that scared us a little earlier. Observing the sky you can see flocks of birds that like spaceships pass over the now our and my red planet, while they are with the nose up, enchanted by the perspective drawings that this pavilion creates.

The only free space is a sitting room, white, where Van Den Weghe marble is used, this appears as a clearing that opens into a natural space, more evident thanks to the material, a sort of oasis, a mirage.

These harmonized elements encourage a search for oneself or at least this is what happened to me.


PALAZZO LITTA © Alberto Dibiase

PALAZZO LITTA © Alberto Dibiase

PALAZZO LITTA © Alberto Dibiase

PALAZZO LITTA © Alberto Dibiase

bottom of page