Everyone living in the city can sometimes feel bogged down by the endless concrete and grey. As a creative pick-me-up against urban living, Rotterdam hopes to unveil a bobbing forest of floating trees in their formerly industrial waterfronts.
The idea for the installation was inspired by the artist Jorge Bakker, who made a sculpture installation of mini-floating trees. Now, his vision is being scaled up to a full-sized living project by a group of Dutch artists and designers called “Dobberend Bos.” With this project, they hope to “evoke questions about the relationship between city dwellers and nature” and raise awareness of environmental sustainability, according to their project's website.
After a successful prototype ran for six months in 2014, they will now launch the installation in March of this year, which will feature 20 Dutch elm trees floating in buoys around the harbor in Rijnhaven, Rotterdam.
The tree buoys are as much a work of art as they are a feat of engineering. While the buoys had to be capable of balancing and floating a 6-meter (20-foot) tree, they also had to maintain its water supply.
For this, the artists sought the help of engineering departments at Rotterdam University, Delft University of Technology, and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences to design and build the buoys. To keep in tune with their message of sustainability, they used as many pre-existing and recycled materials as feasibly possible.