Poetry, Planet and Repair

During Milan’s Salone del Mobile 2019, we were delighted to partner with Icon Design in hosting a roundtable on ‘vertical forests’, innovative parks and other urban oases—not to mention, mosquitoes. Its alliterative title: ‘Poetry, Planet and Repair’.

People attending Salone del Mobile 2019

The line between green-washing and green design is sometimes a tenuous one, and the former gives the latter a bad name—yet green design offers self-made solutions to our self-made environmental disasters. As a company that is primarily present in large conurbations, from world metropolises to regional capitals, we are acutely aware of the impact our beloved, sprawling cities are having on their natural surroundings.

With this in mind, on the opening day of Milan’s Salone del Mobile 2019, Aesop and Icon Design co-hosted a roundtable entitled ‘Poetry, Planet and Repair: Designing Green Spaces for the 21st Century’ at the Fondazione Riccardo Catella. We now have the pleasure of sharing this inspiring conference via video with the wider, non-Salone-going world.

The panel was moderated by Marcus Fairs, the founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen, who invited the assembled luminaries to present some of their projects before leading them on a wide-ranging discussion. Topics included carving a space for nature in urban locales, bridging the gap between what we know and how we live, and helping humanity survive the Anthropocene era through thoughtful design choices.

Architect Yibo Xu expounded on the concept of the Vertical Forest; filmmaker Thomas Piper delved into the hirsute gardens of master landscaper Piet Oudolf; architect and academic Carlo Ratti spoke of innovative attempts to bring nature indoors; and sustainability activist Cristina Gabetti applied snippets of Confucian wisdom to the present’s existential challenges.

Rounding off the panel, Jana Crepon is a landscape architect and a partner at Inside Outside, the firm that designed the ‘Library of Trees’ park which sits just outside the conference venue. On the occasion of Salone del Mobile, Inside Outside designed a temporary sylvan installation for Aesop Brera, one of our Milanese stores. The soil that it used went back to its supplier for reuse, and the saplings were later replanted in Milan, making this installation fully recyclable—naturally.

Watch the video below


Event Speakers

Marcus Fairs (moderator)

  • Founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen.

Jana Crepon

  • Partner and Head of the Landscape Department at Inside Outside studio.

Thomas Piper

  • Documentary filmmaker, author of a recent film on Piet Oudolf.


Carlo Ratti

  • Architect and academic; director of MIT’s Senseable City Laboratory.

Cristina Gabetti

  • Sustainability activist, designer of lifestyles.

Yibo Xu

  • Stefano Boeri Architects Director
Inside Outside’s earthy, botanical installation at Aesop Brera.

‘Thus is Art, a nature passed through the alembic of man.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson