If Terraforma is a community, an experiment, a new paradigm of life on earth, what does this mean for its architecture? We started out from the premise that Terraforma’s temporary nature should not be understood as a reason for taking its architecture less seriously - it simply means that in this case, by “architecture” we mean something different.

Terraforma is is ceremonial gathering, and its physical presence must be the embodiment of its values: what we believe is manifest in what we build. With our masterplan for Terraforma festival we seek to address the needs of its community, which just like any permanent community seeks warmth through togetherness, protection through shade, and physical comfort through rest. It also seeks dignity, and its architecture must reflect the importance the community places in this moment of gathering by exalting and inspiring the spirit through its strength, beauty and purpose. Finally, it must be an act of responsibility. Terraforma must be more than an exercise in formalism - it must be a be a playful prototype of the relationship with our surroundings, our neighbours and our natural environment that we would like to see scaled up to become the driving spirit of our communities. It must use resources frugally, and be made of materials that are durable and inspiring - a fragment of the world we would all like to live in, permanently.

Camping area with new trees planted, Space Caviar

The Planting Program is a biennial venture of reforestation of the land hosting the campsite of Terraforma, situated in Parco delle Groane. The first part of the program was inaugurated in May 2020 and featured the plantation of forty-five linden trees in the main area of the camping, in collaboration with Borotalco.

The Planting Project, photo Mirko Cecchi

The project designed by Space Caviar, is inspired by the studies of the architect Cesare Leonardi, author of “The Architecture of Trees”, in which he examines trees configurations in relation to their shade. More than 100 trees will be planted, taking a cue from the iconic performance by Joseph Beuys, whom in 1982 planted 7000 oaks with the community of Kassel in Germany. The planting intervention aims to be a moment of sharing and active involvement of the territory, the team and partners. The intervention will also be part of the project of neutralization of emissions and its compensation through reforestation on the territory. Furthermore, together with Terraforma a proactive safeguarding of the territory was set in place by implementing an extensive gardening project through land recovery, grey water collection and extensive cleaning procedures. Thanks to the engagement of a team of tree climbers, over 60 centennial trees were trimmed in order to secure about two hectares of the forest.

7000 Oaks, Joseph Beuys
The Architecture of Trees, Cesare Leonardi
The Planting Project, photo Mirko Cecchi
The Planting Project, photo Mirko Cecchi

Oak trees, ash trees, linden trees and lime trees will contribute to neutralize Terraforma’s emissions in the future festivals to come. And campers will finally catch a break from the heat. A temporary urbanism , the trees are seen as architectural elements in themselves. The masterplan of tree planting creates zones for various activities and provides welcoming environments of comfort, shade, and privacy.

Terraforma tree planting masterplan, Space Caviar

As part of this masterplan, Space Caviar designed the camping areas, food stands, shower zone and stage. Our approach is to minimize the impact of our building operations. For the Terraforma festival - all the excess materials were reused to create secondary facilities such as tables, benches, bins, sinks, and showers. The showers for example, reused the metal of a previous project of ours 'Ram House'. The stage was built collaboratively using wood sourced entirely from Vaia Storm in Northern Italy.

Terraforma Showers, Space Caviar
Terraforma Showers, Space Caviar
Vaia Stage, Space Caviar, photo DSL Studio
Vaia Stage, Space Caviar, photo DSL Studio
Vaia Stage, Space Caviar, photo DSL Studio

The structure of Vaia Stage is a celebration of Milanese design – the hexagonal form at the front is derived from one of the most iconic buildings in Milan, the Pirelli Tower by Gio Ponti. The trusses are the second homage to Milan, inspired by Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione? project. We wanted it to be an exemplary project of a simple building in which we know everything there is to know about it, so it is a single material structure made out of pinewood. The only other material we used is laser cut steel for structural support. We wanted to enter into a dialogue with the origin place of this material.

Autoprogettazione? Enzo Mari
Pirelli Tower, Gio Ponti, Pier Luigi Nervi
Vaia storm, 2018

Vaia Stage is named after the extreme weather event occurred in 2018 in some north-eastern regions of Italy destroying about 42.500 hectares of forest. The stage is entirely build out of wood from trees felled by the Vaia storm in order to help the community make use of the vast amount of lumber they have invested in removing from the mountains before it rots. We worked with local consortiums dealing with the enormous amount of wood left over from storm Vaia.

Vaia Stage Workshop, Space Caviar
Vaia Stage Workshop, Space Caviar

As architects, we want to engage with the production process and understand how the materials work, so we turned it into a workshop, collaborating with a number of community volunteers including people from Terraforma as well as our own staff. It was a wonderful process. Part of the idea of non-extractive architecture is that money isn’t the only thing that one can get out of one’s work. There are also forms of conviviality, of human exchange that are just as important. The workshop participants received tickets to Terraforma and all danced together around the stage. The stage and overall masterplan of the Terraforma festival is designed to be re-used and evolve for many years to come.


Terraforma Festival
01/07/2022- annually
Villa Arconati, Milan, Italy

Space Caviar: Joseph Grima, Sofia Pia Belenky, Francesco Lupia, Davide Tagliabue, Camilo Oliveira, Magdalena Narkiewicz, Adam Stanford

Vaia Stage Volunteers: Lara Gasparro, Simone Gottardi, Emek Sayan, Sina Lueder, Juliette Simeone, Mil Gevers

Planting Project: in collaboration with Borotalco

Vaia Stage wood: Filiera Solidale PEFC