Situated within the Royal Fort Gardens at The University of Bristol, British designer Katie Paterson and architects Zeller & Moye collaborated on Hollow, a wooden installation that illustrates the diversity of tree species found across the globe. From the outside the sculptural work appears as a series of rectangles made from a similar, light colored sample of wood, yet when one enters the modular elements break into wooden blocks of all shapes, sizes, and hues. Clustered rectangular structures emerge from the ceiling and floor of the cave-like public art piece like stalactites and stalagmites. The structures are composed of a range of wood samples, including ones that evolved millions of years ago to far more recent examples.
During three years of research and sourcing Paterson collected over 10,000 tree samples from various sources, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University and Yakushima, known as one of the wettest, forest-filled islands surrounding Japan. The collection also features a piece of wood from the Indian Banyan Tree, a fig tree where Buddha achieved enlightenment, the Japanese Ginkgo tree, and the Metuselah tree, found in the White Mountains in eastern California, which at 4,850 years old, is believed to be one of the oldest trees in the world.
Hollow is an ethereal environment for both play and meditation, and resembles a forest canopy with patches of light dappling in from the ceiling. The construction illustrates the detailed beauty of the natural world, and is poignant reminder of the importance of appreciating and maintaining our fragile natural environment. To step virtually into the permanent installation, visit Hollow‘s website.