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‘Forest for Change’. Image: Kevin Meredith
‘Forest for Change’. Image: Kevin Meredith

Central London is getting a new forest with 400 trees

Es Devlin’s woody installation is part of London Design Biennale

Written by
Chris Waywell
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Now we’ve all got used to the ‘great outdoors’ and don’t get so freaked out by paths without crash barriers, double yellow lines and Costcutters, let’s embrace some more of it!

Following the news that Marble Arch is getting a big artificial hill comes a fresh pine-y arboreal waft from central London. Making Somerset House a lot more like Somerset and a bit less like a house, a whole forest is planned for the venue this summer. The woody space is the idea of artist and designer Es Devlin, and will be the centrepiece of the London Design Biennale.

The forest will occupy Somerset House’s courtyard for the duration of the biennale (June 1-27). The space is more used to gigs, film screenings, an ice rink, unexpected gushing fountains and (almost) some hipster-hen-party-baiting dodgems. It will feature 400 trees from 23 species native to the UK and northern Europe as part of ‘Forest for Change – The Global Goals Pavilion’. In its centre will be an installation highlighting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to tackle poverty, inequality and the climate crisis, a broader theme of this year’s London Design Biennale.

The biennale will have a one-way, timed and ticked route this year. But so what? If that includes a stroll through a hitherto non-existent enchanted Zone 1 glade handily located for the tube and several buses, we’re totally down with it.

London Design BiennaleSomerset House, June 1-27. Book tickets here.

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