In the middle of Piazza Gae Aulenti, a white panelled cube conceals a Hidden Garden with 100-sq-m of trees, flowers and grass. The immersive experience by Pierattelli Architects is an example of nature as urban intervention that simultaneously confronts Milan Design Week visitors with the significance of the human presence – through design elements by Flos and Vitra as well as the architecture looming over the roofless structure.

Woven into the concept for the Hidden Garden is also a subversive interpretation of the future of urban parks. The installation’s location at the centre of Milan’s Porta Nuova regeneration plan positions it next to the Vertical Forest buildings – a pair of skyscrapers dripping in foliage. Taking predictions that urban residences will continue shrinking together with UN estimates that 66% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050, the design of natural and public spaces becomes an important element in making future cities livable.

The garden, created by Gruppo Giardini, is encompassed by wall panels supplied by Porcelanosa and constructed by Bruni Costruttori. The 45 panels are made of a material with antibacterial and photocatalytic properties to help purify the air in the city centre. The mirrored interior surface of the panels create a sense of infinite space, inviting the visitor to imagine expansive natural oases in the midst of tomorrow’s urban environments.

The injection of iconic Vitra Home Collection furniture such as the 1945 Eames Elephant and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s Vegetal Chair along with designs by Verner Panton and Maarten Van Severen illustrates that when it comes to natural in future cities – design is essential. Hidden Garden enforces the inevitable relationship between human civilization and nature through the design that binds them.