The former industrial black coal mining site of Drocourt, today Parc des Îles, is a unique environment to rethink the use of our land and close surroundings. The vision behind Forest Living Room is reclaiming trees to be a part of our lives; experiencing both nature and home at the same time. In western civilization, nature and culture have traditionally been presented as a binary opposition. One of the most dangerous side effects of this opposition is the segregation of nature into a separate room, hidden away from our responsibilities. This cabin is considered a place for relaxing, enjoying and socializing while at the same time being a home for reflecting about the beauty and fragility of our natural environment.
Wooden pillars are combined with horizontal elements to create an ‘’ecosystem’’ in which all pieces work together and depend on each other.
These horizontal elements represent a living room and consist of a roof, being a symbol of safety, and a table as a meeting place for a diverse group of people of all ages and backgrounds. The vertical elements on the other hand represent nature; a structured chaos of 100 wooden battens.
Locally manufactured wood is used as base and connector for the realization of this living forest. The wooden joinery consists of a domino system, a loose mortise and tenon joining tool, meaning not a single screw is involved in the assembly of the structure.
Due to the pollution of the former mining industry, the soil in the park makes it difficult to grow trees or higher vegetation. Black schist, taken from the nearby spoil tip, is used as a reminder of the location’s history. The new structure wants to collaborate with the idea of a sustainable future in which we respect the environment and our territories learning from the past.
Forest Living Room has also been welcomed in the park of the Louvre-Lens Museum as part of Odysée – Euralens, a program which focuses on the past 10 years of transformation in the mining basin. Being a part of this program, the installation wants to promote the biodiversity and respect for the natural environments. Here visitors can take a moment to relax at the edge of the water, while letting the surrounding architecture and landscape inspire them.