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GARDEN DESIGN JOURNAL www.sgd.org.uk42
Event Review
Acapital
adventureLondondesignfestivalCityscapesissettobecomeanannuale...
LEFT, top & bottom
A neglected alley at
Gibbons Rents was
transformed into a
vibrant community
space in 2012
right, top & ...
GARDEN DESIGN JOURNAL www.sgd.org.uk44
contacted scientists from the National Institute of
AgriculturalBotanyInnovationFar...
www.sgd.org.uk GARDEN DESIGN JOURNAL 45
Event Review
“The unique ecosystem saw edible mushrooms morph
from mouth-watering ...
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REV CITYSCAPES 042.GDJ137.V2

  1. 1. GARDEN DESIGN JOURNAL www.sgd.org.uk42 Event Review Acapital adventureLondondesignfestivalCityscapesissettobecomeanannualevent, runningfromMaytoOctober.Co-organiserDarrylMooreexplainsthe thinkingbehindit,andlooksbackattheprojectschosenfor2012and2013 What: Cityscapes Where: London When: Annual L ondon is a melting pot of creative industries, yet garden design rarely sits alongside theatre, art or architecture. Public perception often views it as a domestic trade, ignoring the finesse and craft employed by designers. So it was with a passion to redress this imbalance that Adolfo Harrison and I set out in 2010 to place garden and landscape design on a level footing with other artistic endeavours, as an essential part of the city’s creative capital. Driven by our backgrounds in artistic practices and the creative approach to orphaned urban sites we utilise in our studio, Moore Harrison Land Design, we were keen to get designers to participate in cross-disciplinary collaborations on unique garden installations within the urban environment. Thus was born Cityscapes, an annual festival aiming to put garden design on the map. Working with South Bank and Bankside Cultural Quarter (the body coordinating the major cultural organisations in the area) we defined our geographical spread, identified a host of world- class institutions to collaborate with, and set about creating a trail linking our projects and other local green initiatives and spaces, such as those managed by local community group BOST. A six-month stretch from May to October provided a temporal canvas upon which to create projects of varying durations, so we firmed up our cultural partners and sites, and married them with a selection of garden designers. We were able to effect three of the projects, postponing designs such as Tom Stuart-Smith’s geological interpretation of Dennis Lasdun’s concrete terraces at the National Theatre, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan’s playful juxtaposition of flowers and artillery at IWM London, and Andrew Fisher Tomlin’s knitted network of trees for the Design Museum. All the organisations we dealt with were protective of their own artistic territories, but garden design proved a neutral unifying field that they all welcomed. Operating as a social enterprise, we project-managed each garden as well as the overall event management, promotion and funding. We engaged other services too, including branding and costings by international marketing gurus Ogilvy, administration duties by Halcyon VA and web and design input from fellow travellers in our Shoreditch studio. Homes & Gardens came on board as our media partner. The Sky’s the Limit There seemed no better place to launch our ambitions than in a garden 135m above the capital. EDF Energy London Eye was keen to participate in a festival with its riverside cultural compatriots, and offered a capsule from the iconic landmark for a garden installation. Choosing Andy Sturgeon for the project proved prudent when he managed to present a series of designs that wowed the venue’s management, one of which was swiftly selected for its immediacy and clarity of vision. The garden was in situ for 24 hours, installed and deinstalled while the attraction was static overnight. It was a challenge for a designer in the middle of building a show garden at Chelsea, but it was handled with military precision by Sturgeon and Landform Consultants. The garden contrasted the clean white geometry of tall structural pillars with lush green planting, creating an interplay between the world inside the capsule and the views of buildings and parks outside. The soft foliage and semi-transparent umbellifers providing a natural counterpoint to the city included Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’, Hesperis matronalis ‘Alba’, Cenolophium denudatum and Cydonia oblonga. I created a soundtrack using sound recordings gathered from the South Bank, Battersea Park and Sussex countryside. It narratively segued in correspondence with the distance of the views seen from the capsule as it ascended, peaking with recordings from 40km away (the distance visible from the top of the capsule’s rotation). After a spell of silence, the sequence reversed, transporting the visitor from tranquillity back to urban bustle. Photographers, press pundits and festival partners enjoyed 30-minute rides in the garden, accompanied by the effervescent hospitality of the garden’s sponsors, Champagne Pommery. Those who watched the sun set over West London through the branches of quince trees while hovering above the Thames saw garden design taken to new heights. Going Underground No garden festival fusing horticulture and art could be complete without masterful horticultural installationartistsTonyHeywoodandAlisonCondie. So when The Old Vic Tunnels suggested we create a garden in one of their dark, damp Victorian vaults under Waterloo Station, they were our first port of call. Excited and inspired by discovering forms of biological growth on early visits, the pair saw the potential of creating a fungal landscape, and “I set out to place garden and landscape design on a level footing with other artistic endeavours” Photocredits,clockwisefromtopleft:DarrylMoore;AnoushkaFeiler;JonSims;MaxCreasy GDJ137.PG42-45.v5.indd 42 29/10/13 13:04:53
  2. 2. LEFT, top & bottom A neglected alley at Gibbons Rents was transformed into a vibrant community space in 2012 right, top & bottom Two of the 2013 Remix gardens: Anoushka Feiler’s reworking where planting ‘breaks free’ exuberantly, and Jon Sims’ remix inspired by a broken packing case, its contents spilling forth GDJ137.PG42-45.v5.indd 43 29/10/13 13:05:07
  3. 3. GARDEN DESIGN JOURNAL www.sgd.org.uk44 contacted scientists from the National Institute of AgriculturalBotanyInnovationFarm,Cambridge,to research thefeasibility.AnotherChelseaconnection was made with this project, as Heywood and Condie had been commissioned by the RHS to produce a work named ‘Glamourlands’ (see page 26) for the new Fresh category, which fitted in perfectly to effect amigrationofthegardenaftertheshow,fromgenteel Chelsea to the netherworld south of the river. Reconfigured and renamed ‘The Majesty’, the picturesque portrait of the Dorset coast morphed from a meadow-surrounded, open-air folly into an underground fungal landscape. The work featured carbon- and jewel-encrusted sculptures up to 4m high, pine trees from the National Trust coastal property at Formby, and an illuminated Hartley Botanic greenhouse. The installation combined lighting, digital animation by Jason Jameson and James Hall of Unanico Group, and a soundscape I composed containing ghostly echoes of a brass band playing at Chelsea during The Queen’s visit, mixed with sounds of dripping water in the tunnel and trains passing above. The space was infused with a specially commissioned Penhaligon’s scent to create an immersive subterranean experience. NIAB produced a culture of fine mycelium, which was left to colonise the surfaces of the bejewelled landmass. After five months, fungal growth was hanging from the pines and glowing in luminous threads on draped alpaca wool. The unique ecosystem of the greenhouse saw edible mushrooms morph from mouth-watering specimens into molten mounds, plasticised agaves sprouting new growth and potato roots crawling under the framework to escape their confines. The installation attracted repeat visits from fungal junkies keen to chart the garden’s progress, while the combination of glamour and decay left others sharing Vanessa Feltz’ sensation of delirious discombobulation. Creative Communities Initial talks with The Architecture Foundation focused on creating an installation on the roof space of its building near Tower Bridge. But when the opportunity arose to transform a nearby alley into a community garden, we embraced it. The project team also included the local Business Improvement District, Team London Bridge and the landowners, Southwark Council, who facilitated local green improvement and regeneration funding for the project. The site was neglected and a locus of antisocial behaviour. Residents were unhappy and keen to see improvements, yet voiced concerns that changes would amplify problems. A bold vision was needed to meet all the stakeholders’ remits. The foundation arranged a competition to come up with a conceptual design. The winning entry by Australian Andrew Burns proposed an ‘incomplete site’, constantly in transition according to the active participation of local residents. Pairing him with Sarah Eberle’s landscaping talents resulted in an effective long-distance collaboration that dealt with the inherent problems and created a distinct and effective aesthetic response. The design features a harlequin ground plan pattern provided by contrasting Tarmac and resin- bound gravel surfaces, giving the space an inherent directional dynamic. On the sides are large concrete drainage pipe planters, which Eberle filled with exotic plants. Around these are plant pots placed by local residents, modifying the site according to their needs and seasonal interests. A distinctive spatial experience is created, as the pathway widens to make places of pause and rest, and compresses to accelerate movement, with areas defined by planting relationships of colour, fragrance and foliage. The industrial scale and language of the pipes draws the existing walls, fire escapes and extractor fans into the design aesthetic, creating an Edenic-style West Side Story setting, with the spectre of The Shard shimmering above. Contrary to the residents concerns, there was an immediate cessation of antisocial activities, proving that a well-designed and maintained space exhibiting signs of community ownership is an effective deterrent. St Mungo’s Putting Down Roots gardening project for the homeless has been engaged to provide further community interaction and to ensure a level of year-round care. The project employed a new approach to creating public spaces, cultivating a garden in a previously barren urban space and also a community of Event Review “The garden contrasted the clean white geometry of tall structural pillars with lush green planting“ Photo:MischaHaller Photo:DarrylMoore GDJ137.PG42-45.v5.indd 44 29/10/13 13:05:16
  4. 4. www.sgd.org.uk GARDEN DESIGN JOURNAL 45 Event Review “The unique ecosystem saw edible mushrooms morph from mouth-watering specimens into molten mounds“ gardeners, while the input from public and private sectors, international designers and local residents proposes a new model for such collaborations. As an innovative evolving work of urban design, the garden offers a continually renewed experience for visitors, and provides a fitting legacy for Cityscapes, setting the bar for the festival’s future. Forward Motion The success of the first years provided a springboard for 2013, with a three-month long project in partnership with the RHS, titled The Remix Garden, running over the summer in the iconic OXO Tower Wharf courtyard on the South Bank. The Cloudy Bay Discovery Garden, designed by Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam, which appeared at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, was handed over to four upcoming designers to ‘remix’ in the same manner that a song would be remixed. The installations by Jon Sims, Anoushka Feiler, Matthew Childs and Daniel Lobb ran consecutively from the start of August, with each in situ for three weeks. Bookending the riverside residency Sims and Lobb both provided responses that framed the materials, in packing crates and a shipping container respectively, suggesting notions of the garden arriving and leaving the site. Feiler’s installation exploded free from caged restraints, running amok in a blaze of floral glory, while Childs’ erupted from the ground in huge steel culverts overflowing with plants. The dramatic transformation proved a great success. We are now looking at doing something similar to animate the space in the future, working with the owners Coin Street Community Builders. To complete the garden’s cycle it seemed fitting that the original designers, Wilson and McWilliam, should also be allowed to create a remix version. Their work consisting of selected elements of the garden hanging from moving winches offered an eye-catching centrepiece to the RHS London Shades of Autumn Show in the Lindley Hall. The show also featured the other remix designers collaborating with selected nurseries, and using signature parts of their former installations to create plant displays. Finally, in the spirit of the project’s recycling and reuse aesthetic, the materials remaining at the end of the process found after- lives in local community garden spaces. As a preliminary to the project we organised a workshop with the Remix designers and choreographer Charlotte Spencer at Siobhan Davies Dance to explore the similarities in the ways that dancers and designers approach movement through space. The results are due to be developed further with the company in the near future, with the intention of creating garden interventions in the public realm. Meanwhile, a flagship project for 2014 is well under way, involving the creation of a GLA-funded pocket park at King’s College’s Greenwood Theatre, working again with Team London Bridge. The project features a design collaboration between Joe Swift and UK fashion supremo Zandra Rhodes, whose Fashion and Textile Museum has provided a focal point for regeneration in the Bermondsey area. The project will create a space for students, residents and visitors, and is due for delivery in early summer 2014. Moving out of the area and looking eastward, we have undertaken a feasibility study for Stratford cultural quarter for a design-led urban action plan to address footfall flows and wayfinding issues through the creation of green social spaces. The success of the Cityscapes projects has shown the ways in which design collaborations can creatively shape the city, and in the process put garden design firmly among the cream of the capital’s cultural sector, proving that it can more than hold its own in such formidable company. clockwise from far left The 2013 Remix Garden moves to RHS Lindley Hall for the Shades of Autumn Show; a capsule on the London Eye is given a temporary green makeover in 2012; Tony Heywood’s ‘Majesty’ in a dark vault includes jewelled sculptures and mushrooms in 2012; Dan Lobb’s shipping container, the final 2013 remix garden; Matthew Childs’ massive steel culverts froth with planting in 2013 Photo:MatthewChilds Photo:DanLobb Photo:MischaHaller GDJ137.PG42-45.v5.indd 45 29/10/13 13:05:24

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