The Polish Pavilion at the 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition, a Futuristic Greenhouse
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute, in cooperation with the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, presents Greenhouse Silent Disco at the 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition, which is held from 15th July to 11th December 2022 at Triennale Milano in Viale Alemagna 6, Milan.
The 23rd International Exhibition has chosen the theme of “Unknown Unknowns - An Introduction to Mysteries”, inviting us to search the realm of things we do not yet know that we don’t know, exploring the unfamiliar to turn our ideas of the world upside down, and to open new horizons of sustainability.
The Polish Pavilion joins the expedition by going beyond preconceived ideas of plants as static and passive organisms: this installation is designed to decipher the silent language of arboreal vegetation, making contact with the parallel intelligence of this complex and mysterious world.
A greenhouse of the future
Greenhouse Silent Disco is greenhouse of the future, filled with lush vegetation and equipped with digital sensors that capture the reactions of the plants to various stimuli. Such stimuli includes the presence of humans who pass through the installation, as well as the changing weather outside. These reactions are transformed into LED lights and sounds.
Curators Małgorzata Devosges-Cuber and Michał Duda, creators of many exhibitions and publications dedicated to design and architecture, have blended a sensual, romantic, and corporeal approach to nature with the possibilities of modern technology. At the heart of the project is research by plant physiologist Hazem Kalaji, professor in the department of Agriculture and Biology at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, and his #iPlant system.
Within the installation, plants communicate with the system through excess light received, but not used, in photosynthesis, a phenomenon referred to as chlorophyll fluorescence. This makes it possible to determine their needs according to human-centric parameters that we can grasp and interpret.
The installation, designed by Barbara Nawrocka and Dominika Wilczyńska of the architecture firm Miastopracownia, with graphic design by Nicola Cholewa, in cooperation with Magdalena Heliasz, is a wooden structure inspired by natural fractals. The plants, kept in handmade artisanal terracotta pots, are multiplied into infinity by the reflective glass walls.
It is an immersive atmosphere, where guests find themselves completely enveloped in the plant life around them, along with their “conversations” in light and sound. It is a living and ever-changing installation that refutes any image of nature as perfect and immobile, instead revealing its constant flux through the growth of plants and the turning of the seasons between July and December, the period of the 23rd International Exhibition.
Evocation of Romanticism
An intense and profound relationship develops between the visitors and the plants in a clear evocation of Romanticism, the philosophical and literary matrix of the project. In fact, the installation is being presented during the Year of Polish Romanticism, full of events celebrating the great poet and writer, Adam Mickiewicz, on the 200th anniversary of the publication of his “Ballads and Romances”.
It is with Romanticism that nature transcends a purely illustrative role and becomes an instrument of knowledge. Man becomes part of Nature, and nature itself becomes a way to know the world. The Romantics believed that only in nature could man truly be himself. So the starting point is to ask if we can draw on the wisdom of plants to inform our designs. And the answer is yes.
-Michał Duda, deputy director for programming at the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław
The sensory abilities of plant organisms go far beyond what we can imagine. Plants have the ability to feel and assess the force of gravity, sense the intensity of electromagnetic fields and the level of humidity, notice even the slightest vibrations, and communicate within their community and between different species. It is up to us to choose to listen to them.
About Adam Mickiewicz Institute
Founded in 2000, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute is a national cultural institution. Its purpose is to spark worldwide interest in Polish culture in cooperation with international partners, and through cultural exchanges and dialogue with the public, in keeping with Polish foreign policy. To date, in 2022, the Institute has implemented numerous projects in more than 70 countries on 6 continents. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is promoted by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
About The Museum of Architecture in Wrocław
The Museum of Architecture in Wrocław is the only museum in Poland devoted entirely to architecture, and one of the oldest in the world to focus on that theme. Thanks to its rich collection and intensive research activities, the Museum produces programs and events that explore issues of design, architectural history, and its significance in an ever-changing present. Its activities include exhibitions and publications on ancient and contemporary architecture, and its relationship to other areas of artistic and social endeavor.
About Triennale Milano International Exhibition
Triennale Milano International Exhibition, which in 2023 will celebrate 100 years since its foundation, is one of the most important events devoted to design and architecture in the international field, and is sponsored by Triennale in collaboration with the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), and Italy's Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Aid. The 23rd International Exhibition addresses the theme of the unknown, asking questions about the mysteries of the known world, and opening up a discussion concerning the issue of “what we do not know that we don't know”. The Exhibition brings together shows and projects involving 400 artists, designers, and architects from more than 40 countries; more than 600 works; 23 international participations, with a strong presence on the part of the continent of Africa, represented by 6 national pavilions (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda).