Chad Oppenheim and Enzo Enea Join Forces at Basel

On June 13, the worlds of architect Chad Oppenheim and garden designer Enzo Enea met at the unveiling of Enea’s Headquarters by Oppenheim and the Tree Museum imagined by Enea in Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland.

But what, you might ask, ties these design greats to our fair city? When the pair met at a past Art Basel Miami Beach, their unique visions paired them with Audi to work on the rehabilitation of Simpson Park in downtown Miami. Says Oppenheim, “There is great synergy between Basel and Miami. Both are compact cities with an international professional trade and tourist clientele. Both cities yield a global cultural influence and have a great impact on the arts, serving as crossroads for their respective continents.”

And though the Simpson Park project was a great triumph, succeeding in restoring the only natural surviving ecosystem in the city of Miami, Oppenheim’s bid on Enea’s headquarters in Switzerland was not easily won. Enea imagined a tree museum that embodied his diverse perspective, and narrowed down the potential designers to eight leading architects from around the world. Ultimately it was Oppenheim who won the bid. “I selected him from the competition [for the Enea Headquarters] for the way he interpreted everything we wanted to use; he understood what we wanted to do with the tree museum, and he integrated the design and nature better than anyone by showcasing the trees through the building,” says Enea.

What resulted is a space that takes full advantage of its natural, surrounding resources, blending nature and architecture in one seamless setting. The building features a showroom, classroom, workshop, and storage facility. The Tree Museum combines man-made and natural landscapes, and showcases more than 2,000 trees. And Enea’s personal touch is incorporated into the project, with a special installation of roughly 50-curated trees from around the world.

Certainly this duo has a knack for creating and executing beautiful, resourceful, and organic settings.