For most of us tree houses like The Patient Gardener – this week’s Most Loved on AnOther Loves chosen by freelance features writer Zac Bayly – only exist in our wildest imaginations. However for Swedish architects Visiondivision, who have started constructing the two storey Japanese cherry blossom retreat, dreams have become reality. Currently growing on a school campus in Milan (Politecnico di Milano), the final result can be enjoyed in 60 years from now during which time the 10 trees will be bent and pruned into shape. Well earning its name “The Patient Gardener”, patience was the main key for the design: “If we can be patient with the building time we can reduce the need for transportation, waste of material and different manufacturing process, simply by helping nature grow in a more architectonic and useful way,” Visiondivision explained. With a green design and an ethical conscious The Patient Gardener also proves that being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be ugly.
Tree houses have frequently featured on AnOther Loves in the past – whether because of their nostalgic connections (I’m sure all of us wanted or played in one at some point in our childhood) or because of their escapist associations. In the history of AnOther Loves Vintage Style columnist Laura Havlin's mirrored tree house by Swedish architects Tham & Videgård scored Most Loved of the week as did senior fashion editor Sofia de Romarte's Love Nest, perched high on treetop stilts. Here we speak to Bayly about the failed house his dad made him when he was young and the tree house he dreams of.
What made you choose to Love this “Ultimate tree house” – The Patient Gardener created by architects Visiondivision?
It’s beautiful! Can you imagine having that in your backyard when you were a kid? Also, it kind of reminds me of the fairy world that Sooki visits in True Blood, which I’d definitely recreate in my backyard if I ever won the lotto.
Have you ever owned a tree house or been in one?
I haven’t owned a tree house before, unfortunately. My dad tried to make a two-storey cubby house for me when I was young, but it ended up being a very sad-looking one-storey doghouse, which eventually fell apart. I do remember climbing my grandma’s mango tree and pretending to be a crow when I was little, if that counts. When she realised I could climb the damn thing I spent half my summers sawing off old branches and trying to reach the mangos at the top of the tree that she wanted to save from fruit bats. What about keeping your grandson safe?!
If you could construct your dream tree house where would it be and what would it be made out of?
I’d want it to be right in the middle of the city. Imagine how jealous everyone would be! Or, if it was in the forest, maybe it could look like a recently crashed plane.
The Patient Gardener is made out of Japanese cherry trees – what are your favourite trees and where do they grow?
I’ve always wanted a garden of bonsais, so that I can film myself rampaging through them like a giant.
Are you a fan of green design and concerned ethical consciousness?
Well, I don’t know as much about green design as I’d like to, but it’s obviously very important. My favourite childhood cartoons were Captain Planet and Fern Gully, which has got to count for something, right?
If so what other green designs do you admire?
Does this Hi/Lo "high-end" Dutch coffeeshop count?
What was the last product you bought?
Besides a six-pack of scrumpys and a packet of Stroop Waffles, I purchased Of All Things by Robert Benchley from Amazon. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick it up from the Post Office, so I’ll have to buy it again if I want to read it!
What’s your favourite online shop?
I’ve only shopped online twice in my life, but the Book Depository looks pretty great. My next purchase is going to be this Tauntaun sleeping bag from Think Geek, but I might wait to see what Santa brings…
Text by Lucia Davies