The Steampunk Tree House
Permanently installed in Milton, Delaware at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
A large-scale collaborative installation project by Sean Orlando and the Five Ton Crane Arts Group
The Steampunk Tree House is representative of a mutually beneficial relationship between people and nature: humans living in harmony with the planet and its natural elements. The House component itself is built of recycled wood, styled after the Victorian age of architecture, H.G. Wells, and Jules Verne, wedded with the organic elements of nature. It is a house of mystery both familiar and alien.
Recall the dwelling in the film, City of Lost Children, with its trapdoors, hidden compartments, cyborg fleas, oil lamps, wrought iron hardware, keys that unlock secret compartments, lookout perch, and organically styled wrought iron architecture. The House component is built into, and is a part of the Tree in which it sits. Its semi-exposed skeleton is made of structural steel pipe. Recycled gears, gauges, pipes and other metal objects adorn the Tree and House. A tire swing hangs from one of its main branches and an elaborately sculpted automaton metal condor perches in its branches.
Participants can climb up the inside of the tree, through its branches and into the house by scaling the inside of the trunk or by climbing the spiral stair. The Tree’s windows and balconies offer a stellar vantage point over the entire area. The framework and structure of the house is forged organically, cradled in the branches of the Tree.
The Tree House may indeed remind people of a simpler, more innocent time. It may serve as a reminder of childhood, and as an example of how humans might live in harmony with the unnatural nature of nature. However, the tree is also meant to inspire critical thought on the part of its dwellers. Because of the combination of man-made materials —recycled metal and wood— the Tree’s very makeup is meant to regenerate the contemplative faculty, encouraging its inhabitants to reconsider the often-paradoxical relationship between humans, as well as with our environment.