PETRIFIED RIVER: Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial Exhibition Nature,NY, 2019

Petrified River is a site-specific installation proposed by Ensamble Studio to occupy Cooper Hewitt’s garden during the 2019 Design Triennial exhibition Nature and is co-organized by Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City and CUBE Design Museum in the Netherlands.

The transformation process of Manhattan from wild nature to urbanized flattened land has involved enormous efforts and a massive exploitation of the land – digging, leveling, exploding, reclaiming, filling…– and the consequential disappearance of some of its original geographical features.

The proposal, a hill, a river and a pond –made of concrete– serves as petrified metaphor of the rich landscape that Manhattan once was, when it was still known as Mannahatta or “island of many hills”. It is meant to embody the intriguing collision between the infrastructural, the industrial, the artistic, the geological… the difficult balance between the artificial and the natural.