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Alberi Ayako Maruyama

A tree is a column

A tree without its roots or branches is a column. A column is a vertical architectural structure. They are tall, cylindrical in form and are typically made from solid or segmented marble, stone, cast concrete or brick. Tree trunks work well as posts or columns as they are. Columns are comparable to human beings. Like trunks, they stand vertically, feet planted on the ground and supported by the vertebrae. Rarely do we find animals supporting themselves on two feet. Many can have the option to stand on two but will have a third point of support like the tail or the option to move on all fours.

Let us begin with one

Una dopo l’altra One after the other

We are free to stay or move

A tree is a body

Like us, trees have a vertical column, trunk, or core and extremities like branches and roots. From our torso arms grow out of our shoulders and legs from our hips. Hands and fingers extend from our arms and can reach, touch, hold and tickle. Our legs step on the ground and our toes help us stay balanced. We both need space, the sun and water to grow.

Trees and people are very similar. We share similar parts and needs.

A tree is frozen in a dance

Post card from Lily It reminded me of a tree

In nature nothing is still. The idea of nature fixed at 1 June 1969 or a face fixed at thirty-two years and eight days old is completely unreal; quite apart from the fact that if we stop nature we shall never be able to understand her. – Bruno Munari

22 Jan. 2009 Doria Pampfhili Park

Relationships Many trees planted in such a way as to touch, by the second year will have learnt how to dispense with the bark which grown between them and become grafted together; and by this method you will make the walls of the gardens continuous, and in four years you will even have very wide boards. When many grains or seeds are sown so that they touch and are then covered by a board filled with holes the size of the seeds and left to grow underneath it, the seeds as they germinate will become fixed together and will form a beautiful clump. And if you mix seeds of different kinds together this clump will seem like jasper. Hadrians’s Villa Feb. 2009

–Leonardo da Vinci, C.A. 76 r.a. Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci Botany p.317

From far away this cluster of trees looks like broccoli

How a tree works

Siena, 24 March 2009

Photosynthesis, the process of manufacturing useable energy (carbohydrates) from sunlight and carbon dioxide, takes place in a tree’s leaves or needles, and is an enormously complex process. Part of it involves the breaking down of carbon dioxide molecules. Our lives literally depend of this, because it is from this gas that the tree derives the oxygen we breathe. –John Vaillant The Golden Spruce

Hadrian’s Villa March 2009

A tree heals

When a tree has had part of its bark stripped off, nature in order to provide it supplies to the stripped portion a far greater quantity of nutritive moisture than to any other part; so that because of the first scarcity which ahs been referred to the bark there grown much more thickly than in any other place. And this moisture has such power of movement that after having reached the spot where its help is needed, it raises itself partly up like a ball rebounding, and makes various buddings and sprouting, somewhat after the manner of what water when it boils. – Leonardo da Vinci, p. 317 C.A. 76 r.a. The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

Cork Tree, Orto Botanico, Napoli

“Big bites are an underrated phenomenon” –Gabriela van der Linden

He wrote a lot, about a lot

The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

A tree is a material


All the branches of trees at every stage of their height, united together, are equal to the thickness of their trunk. All the ramifications of the waters at the waters at every stage of their length being of equal movement are equal o the size of their parent stream. – Leonardo da Vinci, [Symmetry of nature- ramifications of trees and water] p. 323-324 I12V. C.A. 76 r.a. The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

A tree is in a hurry

Trees are like people, too. They are pushy and needy. The difference is time and that they cannot speak.

“Lots of people take inspiration from trees and forests, and we often like to think of them as sanctuaries of peace and tranquillity. But this is deceptive; forests are, in fact, ruthlessly competitive places, where trees—and even branches on the same trunk—are engaged in life-and-death struggles for optimal position. The winner in this slow motion race for space and light is determined by the tree or branch that photosynthesizes fastest and best.” –John Vaillant The Golden Spruce

You can only go up from here

Orto Botanico, Roma May 2009

A designer tries to make an object as naturally as a tree puts forth a leaf –Bruno Munari Design as Art


This digital book is a collage of drawings, photographs, writing, and ideas inspired by trees. Where would we be without trees? How can we c...


This digital book is a collage of drawings, photographs, writing, and ideas inspired by trees. Where would we be without trees? How can we c...