Thursday, October 29, 2020
Renewable Energy News

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures – Designboom

By Staff , in Biofuels , at September 25, 2020

‘long live the palm’ is a project that questions the permanence of things and celebrates the full circle of nature. conceived by architect iwo borkowicz and designer ola korbańska, this art installation is located on a riverside site outside the town of agueda in portugal. formed using dead palm trees mixed with locally sourced soils, the sculptures give fresh meaning to the decayed material as it becomes a base for new life to grow. 

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures designboom

image by daniel djamo

to create this sculptural series, iwo borkowicz and ola korbańska took dead palm trees from the streets of agueda. they then composted the trees and mixed them with locally sourced soils to create a building material-cum-nutrient for the seeds that were hidden inside. a local gardener helped choose species of plants suitable for the conditions of their new habitat by the river.

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures designboom

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

to build the column-like forms, the pair used a rammed earth technique to pack the building material into a metal mold. once this mold is removed, the beautiful earthy layers are revealed in the ‘giant seed-bombs’. the tall, monolithic shape of the sculptures has been created to question the permanence of things. monoliths, however solid they may look, will eventually decompose, becoming a testimony to temporality and circulation of matter.

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures designboom

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

‘a man-made environment is governed by a set of precise rules. we feel the need to be in control, striving to conceal the messy and unruly parts of nature. the installation is an attempt to rethink the inseparable relation between decay and rebirth,’ says iwo borkowicz.

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures designboom

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

‘we have deliberately designed objects which will disappear and made a decision not to preserve them. it is challenging to accept the process of the decay of things,’ adds ola korbańska. it is particularly hard to see one’s own creation decomposing, more and more with each passing day. learning to do so brings another perspective on understanding materiality.’

the location of the piece is not accidental. from the town square where they have once lived and died, the palms were moved to the wilder side of the river. ‘by locating the installation in that part of the city, we hope to invite the local community to continuously visit the river and experience the slow transformation of sculptures,’ says iwo borkowicz.

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures designboom

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

as well as echoing the vertical shape and roughness of palm tree trunks, the form of the sculptures evoke the idea of victory columns – the monuments that traditionally commemorated victorious historical events, made of materials such as stone, bronze, or concrete. here, the victorious moment is the germination of new plants. and the soil columns won’t remain long. ‘long live the palm’ was first opened in august 2020 and will remain until the erected objects naturally return to the landscape. 

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures designboom

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures designboom

image by alexandre duarte

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures designboom

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

iwo borkowicz + ola korbańska transform palm tree biomass into sculptures designboom

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

pillars made from the biomass of dead palm trees populate a riverside site in portugal

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

pillars made from the biomass of dead palm trees populate a riverside site in portugal

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

pillars made from the biomass of dead palm trees populate a riverside site in portugal

image by iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

project info:

project name: long live the palm

location: agueda, portugal

by: iwo borkowicz & ola korbańska

year: 2020