Living Nature by Carlo Ratti @ Salone Milan 2018

Living Nature by Carlo Ratti @ Salone Milan 2018

International design and innovation office CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled “Living Nature. La Natura dell’Abitare”, a garden pavilion where all four seasons coexist with each other at the same time, thanks to an innovative energy management system for climate control.

The project, stemming from a concept by CRA and Studio Römer, has been developed for Salone del Mobile as the main venue in the city and it also hosted the opening event for Milan Design Week 2018.

The 500 square-metre pavilion houses four natural, climatic microcosms that will enable all seasons of the year to unfold at precisely the same time, one next to the other.

Visitors will be immersed in nature and experience its changes through the four different areas – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, from playing with snowballs in the winter quarters to sunbaking in the summer one.

Living Nature was also built to explore the relationship between cities and nature, a topic favoured in Western history, from Ancient Greece to Frank Lloyd Wright and Ezebener Howard’s 20th century urban utopia.

The amazing technology within the exhibit experiments with advanced energy management systems – which influences the photovoltaic cells, accumalators, and heat pumps – allowing sustainable climate control strategies which could be applied for heating and cooling in the houses of the future.






The plants in the pavilion, selected by French botanist Patrick Blanc, are housed under a 5-meter-high selective Crystal membrane that dynamically filters the sun based on input from light-reactive sensors. Above the pavilion, photovoltaic panels generate clean energy and contribute to feed the energy flows, providing the required energy to cool space in the winter area, or to heat the summer space.

Concept render of the project

Living Nature bonds nature’s cycles and domestic spaces, through a series of rooms and familiar areas, each of them furnished according to a different theme. The pavilion explores how our modern homes and furniture can meet mankind’s need for “biophilia” – that innate love for nature researched by Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson.

Living Nature is open to the public in Milan’s main square (Piazza del Duomo) from the 17th to the 29th of April 2018.

Talks by the creators of the Living Nature exhibition were held in the space











About Carlo Ratti

An architect and engineer by training, Carlo Ratti practices in Italy and teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directs the Senseable City Lab.

He graduated from the Politecnico di Torino and the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris, and later earned his MPhil and PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Carlo holds several patents and has co-authored over 250 publications. As well as being a regular contributor to the architecture magazine Domus and the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, he has written for the BBC, La Stampa, Scientific American and The New York Times.

His work has been exhibited worldwide at venues such as the Venice Biennale, the Design Museum Barcelona, the Science Museum in London, GAFTA in San Francisco, MoMA in New York and MAXXI in Rome.

Carlo has been featured in Esquire Magazine’s ‘2008 Best & Brightest’ list and in Thames & Hudson’s selection of ‘60 innovators’ shaping our creative future. In 2010 Blueprint Magazine included him as one of the ‘25 People Who Will Change the World of Design’, Forbes listed him as one of the ‘Names You Need To Know’ in 2011 and Fast Company named him as one of the ’50 Most Influential Designers in America’.

He was also featured in Wired Magazine’s ‘Smart List 2012: 50 people who will change the world’. At the 2008 World Expo, his Digital Water Pavilion was hailed by TIME Magazine as one of the ‘Best Inventions of the Year’. In 2011, Carlo was awarded the Renzo Piano Foundation prize for ‘New Talents in Architecture’.

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