Oase proposes an intervention to improve the conditions of trees in urban spaces, inspired by an ancient low-tech method used for irrigation. It is a series of unglazed terracotta vessels that are filled with water and buried in the ground, near a tree, which can retain water directly through its roots, thanks to the porosity of the material.
Clay pitcher in-ground irrigation eliminates water losses due to surface evaporation and soil infiltration, increasing water savings by up to 70% over traditional surface irrigation methods and resulting in improved tree resilience.
The design of this project investigates the competition between trees and cars in urban landscapes, resulting in an aesthetic language that references the fuel tanks of cars. Trees are barely recognized as the possessors of rights, yet too often treated as “trees as street furniture”.
Knowingly, urban environments are challenging for tree survival. This is due to a series of factors including the surrounding closed surfaces reflecting sun and heat, channeling winds, the size of the tree pit, the density of the ground and the space for its roots which often competes with roads, the disconnection from companion plants for mutual support, and the cleanliness and quantity of incoming water.
An Oase (eng. oasis) is fertile land in a desert or semi-desert environment, which provides habitats for animals and plants. The vessels are an offering to urban trees. The project was commissioned by MAKK Museum Cologne and Ökorausch Think Tank e.V. for the exhibition „Between the Trees. Urban Green - Art - Design”, with a focus on the fundamental importance of trees and greenery in the city.
Client: MAKK Museum for Applied Art Cologne
Design, Concept, Production: Johanna Seelemann, 2023
Assistance: Gigi Totaro
︎︎︎ ‘Between the Trees’, MAKK Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln, 3 February - 16 April 2023