The One Tree, Four Seasons installation is a unique and captivating artistic collaboration between the Swedish architect Ulf Mejergren and Finnish artist Antti Laitinen. Essentially it explores the cyclical nature of the seasons and their impact on a single tree. The living art piece – which was last month featured on Arch Daily – brings together architecture, ecology, and human emotion, forming an intimate connection between the observer and the constantly changing environment.
One Tree, Four Seasons, as the name suggests, centres around a single tree that is transformed to represent the four seasons. The installation is situated on a remote location, where the natural environment remains largely untouched by human intervention. The project is designed to provoke an emotional response from visitors, drawing their attention to the beauty of nature and the passage of time.
The project is split into four installations to take advantage of the tree’s different seasonal appearances. The tree stands in isolation in a quiet field south of Stockholm, Sweden.
Design and Execution
The project consists of four individual installations, each dedicated to a different season: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The installations encircle a single alder tree, which grows on a small hill surrounded by overgrown rocks.
Every installation has been thoughtfully designed to capture the essence of its respective season. The spring installation, completed in April 2022, features dead branches collected from the surrounding forest that were interwoven to create a large nest around the tree. A circular opening in the structure allows visitors to see a section of the tree and the floor, which is made of bent willow.
The summer installation, which began in August, features hay collected from the surrounding field, which was used to create a floor and seating inside the structure, with the tree’s crown serving as the roof. The local string quartet Julikvartetten performed a concert inside the structure as a tribute to the tree. The artists also added temporary hay bale stairs outside the entrance for the musicians.
The autumn installation, which started in late October, features leaves collected from the tree and surrounding forest, which were placed inside the structure. Using an artificial wind, the leaves were made to move around and upward before falling back down. Many of the leaves escaped through the hole in the structure, blending with the real wind outside.
Finally, the winter installation, which was completed in February of this year, was transformed into a sauna by wrapping it in plastic. The plastic retains the heat and steam inside the structure, while blending in with the snowy landscape outside. The sauna is heated with wood from the site – the ultimate renewable, and the smoke rising from it creates a white moving volume in the bare tree crown.
Sustainability and Impact
The One Tree, Four Seasons installation emphasizes the importance of sustainability and ecological balance. Its construction prioritises local sourcing of materials and waste minimisation.
This living art installation not only celebrates the natural beauty of the changing seasons but also serves as a reminder of the fragility of our planet’s ecosystems. By experiencing the installation, visitors are encouraged to reflect on their relationship with the environment and consider the importance of preserving it for future generations.
The One Tree, Four Seasons installation is an innovative and inspiring artistic endeavour that explores the cyclical nature of the seasons and their impact on a single tree. This immersive experience offers a rare opportunity for visitors to engage with the beauty of nature and reflect on the importance of sustainability. As an architectural and artistic marvel, One Tree, Four Seasons will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on all who experience its wonder.