Cultured Magazine

Summer 2014

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"I started collecting trees 20 years ago," the land- scape designer Enzo Enea says. They were trees that would have been cut down to make room for homes, gardens, wider streets—"old, burly specimens," he says. His intention was to move the trees—some by helicopter—to his 24 acres overlook- ing Lake Zurich, and use them in his garden-design business. "But I loved some of them so much, I had a hard time sell- ing them," he says. Thus his Tree Museum, which opened in 2010 in Rapperswil-Jona, 25 miles southeast of Zurich. Out of the 2,000 specimens on hand, he selected 50 trees, some as common as a crab apple and others as prized as the 115-year- old horse chestnut that served as a place to post signs in a nearby town square. "There are still marks on the bark, which tell many stories," says Enea. "Under the tree is a bench from an English cottage garden, reminiscent of the town square where the tree was doomed because of street construction." Enea's trees come from around the world, but all grow in the same temperate climate. Elsewhere there is a 130-year-old Japanese red maple, and a 100-year-old European yew, clipped into a cloud-like shape and set against one of the large, abstract limestone blocks that form the "rooms" of the museum. The Miami architect Chad Oppenheim won the job of de- signing those proto-Neolithic shapes in an international compe- tition. "Everyone else wanted to show off their architecture," Oppenheim says. "I like playing God, so our design celebrated the garden, the sky, the beauty of the surroundings." Strolling through the Tree Museum, a visitor finds an evoca- tive scene at every step. "Old trees have so much character," Enea says. "I just love them." 164 CULTURED An old horse-chestnut tree, originally planted before 1900 near Enzo Enea's Swiss headquarters, dominates this section of the Tree Museum in Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland. The bench below it was salvaged by Enea from an old English cottage garden. The 24K-gilded water spouts are Balinese and are said to bring luck when rubbed. Growth Spurt Much like a great art collector, Enzo Enea couldn't part with some of his most prized trees— so he built a museum for them. BY LINDA LEE

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