Mirte van Laarhoven

Cake for Biodiversity, 2021

Landscape architect Mirte van Laarhoven has dedicated her design practice to developing more equitable and dynamic forms of interaction between humans and nature. Her projects often have an educational as well as an ecological purpose. One example is her Underwater Forest, created in 2018 and still ongoing: a group of dead trees anchored underwater which functions as a hotspot for biodiversity, providing food and shelter for underwater species suffering from habitat loss. Light beacons onsite and an online web application record and communicate the changes in the ecosystem.


The sculpture Cake for Biodiversity is made up of a long tree trunk, the ‘cake’, which has a colourful ‘topping’ of ceramics. With this object, Van Laarhoven aims to provide a habitat for a hundred different organisms. Of these, 99 species such as wasps, bees, beetles, birds, caterpillars, and fungi can find food or shelter inside or on the tree trunk. The hundredth species, humankind, is given a layer of its own on top of the wood. Van Laarhoven: ‘This creates an integrated society where humans can watch, listen and learn from nature without disturbing the habitat of other species.’

 

Mirte van Laarhoven (1986, The Netherlands) develops landscape architecture and sculptures with a focus on self-sustaining environments, biotope creation and human experience. Her work represents a shift in how nature is perceived in the Netherlands, from a top-down industrial engineering approach to respecting and engaging with the forces shaping the landscape. In 2019, Van Laarhoven founded her Living Landscapes practice to fully commit to her passion for designing living systems. Her role within a design process shifts between innovative thinker, art-istic creator and constructive collaborator. In 2021, Van Laarhoven participated in the residency programme of Sundaymorning@ekwc, a centre-of-excellence for ceramics in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands, where she created a series of furniture pieces that promote a more biodiverse environment.


livinglandscapes.nl

Mirte van Laarhoven 

Cake for Biodiversity, 2021 

Stoneware (coloured clay, transparent glaze), oak tree trunk, 330 x 55 x 95 cm