Breaking rules: 400 trees to be planted in London’s Somerset House

By Sayujya S, Desk Reporter
  • Follow author on
Somerset House Image
Representational Image

London’s Somerset House, a well-known historical arts center in the middle of the UK capital, will soon be home to a forest of 400 trees.

The installation will be the centerpiece of the upcoming London Design Biennale, which is an international design exhibition that runs across three weeks. The mastermind behind the display is the event’s artistic director Es Devlin, an artist and designer in her own right.

By installing the trees, Ms. Devlin will be breaking a rule dating back to the 18th-century which prohibits the planting of trees in the building’s courtyard.

Forest for Change

“Forest for Change”, featuring 23 different varieties of tree, is a response to the Biennale’s call to action, set by Mr. Devlin: “how can design provide solutions to the major challenges of our time?”

The green space will project a message of collective action and aims to bring life to the solutions necessary to confront global issues such as the coronavirus, environment degradation and migration.

To make the forest a reality, Ms. Devlin will work alongside landscape designer Philip Jaffa and Urban Greening Specialists, Scotscape.

“Of course, the first thing we wanted to do when considering this year’s Biennale was to counter this attitude of human dominance over nature,” Mr. Devlin said in a press release. After settling on Somerset House as the location for this summer’s event, Mr. Devlin immediately instructed there be an entire forest built inside the previously off-limits space.

UN Global Goals

Plans reveal that the “Forest for Change” will include an interactive installation on the United Nations’ “Global Goals” which is a 17-step plan for eradicating poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.

“In literature forests are often places of transformation: the forest of Arden in Shakespeare, the enchanted forests of the Brothers Grimm,” said Devlin. “The UN Global Goals offer us clear ways to engage and alter our behavior and it is our hope that an interaction with the Goals in the forest will be transformative.”

“Forest for Change: The Global Goals Pavilion” opens to the public on 1st June and will be created in partnership with Project Everyone, a not-for-profit communications agency founded by British filmmaker Richard Curtis to support and extend the reach of the Global Goals.

Read More: Spend your days like a royal at this palace-turned-to-hotel in Turkey