`Seggiano Suspends Olive Tree in City Wall - Olive Oil Times

Seggiano Suspends Olive Tree in City Wall

Jan. 5, 2015
Marco Marino

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In Seggiano (Tuscany) — an area famous for the olive tree vari­ety called Olivastra Seggianese — the Museum of Seggiano Land and Olivastra recently unveiled an unusual exhibit.

A stone water tank along the medieval walls of Seggiano now holds an Olivastra tree cul­ti­vated with an aero­ponic sys­tem.

The olive tree is placed at the top of the cis­tern: the stem and the foliage are vis­i­ble from the out­side of the struc­ture, while the roots are sus­pended and vis­i­ble by enter­ing the cis­tern. The plant is fed by nutri­ent steam ris­ing from a cir­cu­lar pool at the base.

A sketch shows how the tree is suspended within an old water tank within the walls of Seggiano, Italy

Sensors are con­nected to the roots in order to pick up elec­tri­cal impulses pass­ing through the olive tree, caused by its inter­ac­tion with wind, rain, tem­per­a­ture changes or other exter­nal agents. Through a spe­cial elec­tronic device, these impulses” are trans­lated and tran­scribed in the form of a musi­cal score that ser­e­nades vis­i­tors.

The sus­pended olive tree is the world’s largest plant cul­ti­vated using aero­pon­ics and its imple­men­ta­tion has been tested and devel­oped in the inter­na­tional lab­o­ra­tory of Plant Neurobiology at the School of Agriculture of Florence University, that is the sci­en­tific part­ner of the project.

The Museum also oper­ates an olive oil shop (oleoteca) in the cen­tral square of Seggiano — part of the for­mer build­ing of Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the old­est bank in the world) pur­chased by the munic­i­pal­ity to be the show­case of local pro­duc­ers.

Oleoteca a Seggiano, Val d’Orcia by Mao Benedetti

The oleoteca, inau­gu­rated one year ago, has been designed to cel­e­brate the ancient craft of olive oil pro­duc­tion: it includes two cylin­dri­cal struc­tures of dif­fer­ent sizes, both coated with raw iron sheets. The first cylin­der slowly turns on itself while show­ing a ver­ti­cal slot with sev­eral bot­tles of Olivastra oil. The sec­ond struc­ture is the serv­ing counter, where you can taste the draft” oil that is dis­pensed by spe­cial taps.

On the ground, a half moon light illu­mi­nates the space, while, on the irreg­u­larly shaped vault, images doc­u­ment­ing the work in the oil mills are pro­jected.

The oleoteca project received an hon­or­able men­tion in the July, 2014 National Exhibition of Architecture.


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