Tree of Knowledge | NOMAD Studio

Tree of Knowledge is a temporary installation on axis with Villa Erba, at Lake Como in Italy, hosted by Orticolario 2019 – Creative Spaces International Competition. The concept that shapes the installation is a reflection about the journeys that humanity has accomplished and their impact on our culture, specifically on our relationship with plants. The empty Tree of Knowledge brings to the forefront this disconnection of humankind with its natural environment, from the most basic footprint of a vegetable in the market, to the limits of our role as the top consumer in all ecosystems. Tree of Knowledge poses a question: do we know where our food is coming from?

Tree of Knowledge is inspired by the amazing journeys throughout the planet that humanity has embarked upon lead by its intrinsic curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit. We have explored the world and returned to our points of origin with ‘pieces’ of other cultures. One of those pieces is the plants that those cultures have domesticated throughout their history in the form of food, medicines, pigments, fabrics, mystical ingredients,… 

Tree of Knowledge builds upon this reflection to bring to the forefront our present lack of interest in those journeys and their results, calling attention to this emptiness of knowledge and the disconnection of humankind with its natural environment. Are we currently living in an instantaneous culture that is affecting the intrinsic curiosity of humans? Is it relevant to understand these journeys from the plant’s perspective? Should we give attention to the mutual transformation between plants and cultures throughout history?

This reflection materializes as the Tree of Knowledge. An empty apple, referring to an empty Tree of Knowledge, has been placed on axis of a monumental avenue of lemons. The dominant and playful yellow carpet works as a magnet that invites visitors to engage in a joyful manner. Nevertheless, amongst the jubilant yellow, there is also a gesture to alert us as this is the color used to signify warning.

Tree of Knowledge confronts the visitors with the contradiction posed by the emptiness nested within the yellow plane, inviting them to take a personal journey towards the limits of their disconnection with the natural environment. What is our responsibility as top consumer in all ecosystems? Do we know where our food is coming from?


Event | Orticolario 2019 – Creative Spaces and Avant Gardening.
Host | Orticolario is organized by S.O.G.E.O. S.r.l. Impresa Sociale, L.go Visconti4, 22012 Cernobbio (Co) Italy.
Dates | 04th to 06th October 2019.
Location | Exhibition Centre of Villa Erba overlooking Lake Como in Italy.

Designer | Nomad Studio.
Lemon field. 140 m2 (4x35m).
Apple maximum height. 3 m

Lemon Supplier. MUGUI GROUP (Distributor Partner)
Plywood Supplier. MADERA PINOSORIA, S.L.
CNC Milling/Carpentry. Angel Perez Ebanistas, S.L.

Main sponsors., FLOR DECO, and MADERA PINOSORIA, S.L.
Volunteers: Fondazione Minoprio, Isabel Ocana, and Quentin Comes.

Images courtesy of Nomad Studio. Copyright © 2019 Nomad Studio

Images courtesy of Orticolario. Copyright © 2019 Ph_Luciano_Movio

About Damian Holmes 3314 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at