SAFE: Design Takes On Risk

Dré Wapenaar

Dré Wapenaar. Treetent. 1998

Steel, canvas, and plywood, 15' x 8' 10 1/4" (400 x 270 cm) diam. Manufactured by Dré Wapenaar, The Netherlands (2005). Lent by Dré Wapenaar. Photo by Robbert R. Roos

DIRECTOR, GLENN LOWRY: This elegant object, by Dutch artist Dré Wapenaar, is a fine example of design that draws not just its inspiration, but its very shape, from nature.

CURATOR, PAOLA ANTONELLI: It's the Treetent, and, as you can see, it's a tent that's hanging today from the wall of the Museum of Modern Art, but normally it hangs from trees. Dré got this drop shape for the tent by simply hanging a platform from a tree. If you hold a bag and you put a platform in it, the drop shape appears naturally.

It was originally designed for a group of activists that were trying to save a forest from being destroyed; and, environmentally concerned as they were, they decided to hug the trees, in so many words, by hanging these beautiful drop-shaped tents from them. This tent is emblematic of the tree house that every boy, every girl and every adult dreams of when he or she wants to isolate from the rest of the world and be in peace.

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