When strolling through Skyline Park in Denver towards the end of July, you may have walked through what appeared to be a long-abandoned outdoor office space that nature had started to take back.
Tree stumps replaced conference table chairs and the entire conference table itself was consumed by grass, trees and plants. A particularly clever plant had grown into a water cooler. A glimpse into a possible future where the natural environment dominates the man-made world -- it appeared as if Mother Nature had finally won.
If you were fortunate enough to be passing by this overgrown office space, you were looking at the work of Mike Moore and his Tres Birds workshop, an outdoor art and architecture installation called “Natural Systems Domination.”
"Natural Systems Domination" only appeared at Denver's Skyline Park from July 21 to 24, but the imagery created much buzz around the nation for Moore and Tres Birds.
Moore recently sat down with The Huffington Post to speak about “Natural Systems Domination,” Tres Birds and upcoming projects from his Boulder workshop.
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What was the inspiration for “Natural Systems Domination?”
Corporate America is failing. Our capitalist system, which requires continual economic growth, is depleting Earth's finite natural resources. It has polluted our land, air, water; It has made our people sick and now under-employs us. We all bought into the system and it is broken.
The American corporate offices of the past century separate people from natural systems. Today, most offices block the sun, create artificial temperatures, and utilize toxic materials. We have inherited these spaces of artificial light, toxic air, and fake materials. I am not interested in a life separate from nature. Nature is expansive, corporations are compressive. Expansiveness is a life condition I am pursuing and it is a gateway for massive change.
"Natural Systems Domination" (NSD) proclaims natural systems as the ultimate winner. Vegetation is the solution. Plants are highly adaptive, mutable, global coolers, energy makers. NSD was a snapshot of the past, present, and future. Nature always wins. Our temporary installation was intended to inspire and give promise of the power of natural systems.
What is Tres Birds Workshop?
Tres Birds Workshop is a full service architecture and general contracting firm I founded in 2000. We are dedicated to transforming these corporate boxes into spaces that connect people to natural cycles and lower the embodied energy of the making and operating of buildings. We approach each architecture/building project with respect for natural systems. We design not only for the client but also for the site (landscape, animals, weather patterns, sun movement, etc.). To date, Tres Birds has completed 35 projects in four different countries with budgets from $30,000 all the way to $7 million.
Why the emphasis on pure, untreated material use in your work?
Both our architecture and art are made of “real” materials and local labor. These materials have the power to inspire the maker. Decoration and synthetic materials are absent from our work. All of our work is made from reclaimed materials of the project's region. In NSD this came in the form of second hand store office furniture, plants grown in our region, and labor from Denver. This process lowers the embodied energy of the project and connects the participant to the region. Reclaimed material usage reduces the need for natural resource extraction (logging, mining, landscape destruction, etc.), large transportation energy usage, storage facilities operation, and retail outlet operation.
How big of an influence is environmental sustainability in your work?
It is the reason for our work.
Do you see your work as political?
I am not so political. I am an activator of change and strive to live in balance with the Earth.
Our next installation will be at Denver Art Museum July-August 2012. Currently, we are working on an affordable housing project in south Denver, an office space for computer code writers, a fashion designer studio, and a conception art installation.
WATCH [via Analog Design Studio]: