Since 2013, the 75,000m² park has provided the setting for contemporary sculptures created by renowned artists. These sculptures engage in a subtle dialogue with the gardens, extending the holistic vision behind Enzo Enea’s design concept.
Through the long-term project Art in the Tree Museum, the traditional connection between art and nature is enjoying a revival. Thanks to Enea, a tradition that almost disappeared in the course of the 20th century is once again a focal point for debate and discussion in the art world. The precise choreography of the relationship between art, landscape and flora creates a unique and fascinating sense of space and has a positive influence on the microclimate. As Enea says: “My aim is not decoration, but integration.”
For this exciting project, highly distinguished representatives of the contemporary international art scene are being acquired continuously. Their sculptures engender in a myriad of facets and forms impressive and memorable sensations of space, colour, and shape – the sculptures in the Tree Museum stand erect set in contrast to the pre-Alpine horizon and lend an arresting and striking tone to the precisely curated garden landscape.
In June 2010, the Tree Museum situated on land near Upper Lake, Zurich, opened its gates. Conceived as an oval-shaped, open-air museum which is divided into a series of ‘rooms’, each with their own atmosphere and character, the Tree Museum exhibits individual trees from the collection of Enzo Enea, the Swiss Landscape Architect and a prominent tree collector. The museum’s first mission was to emphasise the exceptional presence, beauty and rarity of the exhibited trees, while on a second, deeper level, Enea’s constellations will help shape visitors’ perception of primordial attributes of life such as time and space, and how these are so intrinsically embedded in the very quintessence of these ancient, venerable trees.
The idea of creating a tree museum was a natural extension to Enea’s work as a Landscape Architect as many years of intensely observing and studying trees combined with an increasing understanding of how to sense and handle them not only provided the foundation for his reputation in the field, but also instilled in him a boundless admiration and respect for these most extraordinary creations of nature. In order to share these experiences with a wider audience, Enea decided to dedicate a ‘museum’ to his trees, thereby implying that they are equally worthy of the care and attention we usually reserve for objects in such an environment. His concept of constructing open-air ‘spaces’ – a characteristic of all Enea gardens – allows for trees to be singled out and to become individuals, as visitors are led to walk around these rooms and to observe them from different angles.
The ‘experience’ and sensation evoked by a visit to the Tree Museum will be one created by a multitude of different elements including the magnificence of the trees themselves, the microclimate they create around them, the variety of textures, the effects of spacing and proportions and the landscape architecture in which they are embedded. However, one of the most remarkable and touching characteristics of most trees on view is their age. The awakening to a need for ‘slow life’, and respect and admiration for nature and the environment are key elements evoked by the Tree Museum. Its spirit, its genius loci, will help to ‘externalise’ whatever it is these ancient shapes reflect in our subconscious.
The museum features approximately 50 trees representing more than 25 varieties, and showing several examples which are more than 100 years old. An aura of immortality and an awareness of time – even more pressing in our world of hectic, no-time behavior – become omnipresent and the museum a place of quiet contemplation and observation. Sophisticated techniques influenced by the ancient art of bonsai shaping were applied to transplant and preserve the trees. Another 100 trees and plants are located in the park which surrounds the Tree Museum and serves as a landscape architecture and space laboratory.
In total, the museum and park zones contain more than 3000 exclusive wood species which Enea has collected over the past 20 years. The collection is solely composed of varieties which belong to the climate zone.