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

The Secret Garden at Milan Design Week in main art architecture  Category

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

The Secret Garden at Milan Design Week in main art architecture  Category

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

The Secret Garden at Milan Design Week in main art architecture  Category

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

The Secret Garden at Milan Design Week in main art architecture  Category

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.”

The Secret Garden at Milan Design Week in main art architecture  Category

The Secret Garden at Milan Design Week in main art architecture  Category

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

The Secret Garden at Milan Design Week in main art architecture  Category

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.

The Secret Garden at Milan Design Week in main art architecture  Category

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