Hidden away in the Orto Botanico in Milan’s Brera District, was the intriguingly titled Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden Milan

Zaha Hadid created an elegant installation, very much in her trademark style, to showcase inlaid marble surfaces by CITCO.

Zaha Hadid The Secret Garden Milan

She said “The composition of the marble panels derives from the complex beauty found in the organizational patterns of the natural word.”

Zaha Hadid The Secret Garden Milan

Her installation concealed and revealed each panel from different perspectives, giving the experience a real sense of exploration and discovery.

Zaha Hadid The Secret Garden Milan

Taking that idea even further, Paola Navone enveloped Barovier&Toso’s hand blown Murano glass chandeliers in “nests” made of hazelnut branches, with viewing holes people queued to peer through.

She described them as “Nests which welcome and protect some of the most beautiful pieces of Murano glassmaking tradition which have come by chance to the garden.”

Paolo Navone The Secret Garden Milan

Paolo Navone The Secret Garden Milan

The colors and textures in the branches, the silver foil lining the insides of the “nests” and the chandeliers themselves provided a visual feast.

Paolo Navone The Secret Garden Milan

Perhaps you will recall Mary Lennox, the angry little girl brought out of herself by the walled garden in the book? I think this Secret Garden may well have had the same effect.

Paolo Navone The Secret Garden Milan

Our trip to Milan for Milan Design Week 2012 was supported in part by Airbnb.com.