Into the Forest
Mantova | Italy

Openfabric has been selected to design the public spaces of Mantova city center in occasion of the first World Forum on Urban Forest (WFUF 2018) by FAO. The aim of the design is to engage with the two different levels of the forum: the academic one and the broad public. The project wants to critically represent a number of forest typologies rising both awareness on the importance of nature in urban environments and, in the other hand, raise questions on which kind of nature can define urban forests. In order to create debate, the forests’ fragments are displayed in the form of couples of opposite conditions; living dichotomies placed one if front of the other; oxymorons which also reflect the very theme of the Forum on “Urban Forest”, realties only apparently irreconcilable. 
‘Mountain vs Sea’ will showcase how altitude defines different forest typologies. ‘Local vs Tropical’ will enter the long-lasting debate of autochthonous vs allochthonous species in urban environments. ‘Ars Topiaria vs Ars Topiata’ will highlight the role and the consequences of trees maintenance in cities, and the importance of the resulting biomass.


“Into the Forest” takes shape from the rich architectural heritage of Mantova. In the search for the most distinctive and identifying geometries of the city, it emerges that the circle and the square, and their combination, are recurring forms.


The circular plan of the ‘Rotonda di San Lorenzo’, or the circle inscribed in the square of the ‘Casa del Mantegna’, are virtuous examples, inspiring the use of such simple shapes for the forests fragment, establishing an implicit dialog with the surrounding city.