London 2020 – British practice Studio Weave has created a large-scale installation providing a controlled habitat for cultivating plants that would not ordinarily grow within the UK. Reminiscent of a Victorian glasshouse, the installation is located at IQL – International Quarter London and was commissioned by London Design Festival and was supported by developers Lendlease and London Continental Railways.
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The conservatory’s environment can be regulated and adapted to suit the plants within. Garden designer Tom Massey has collaborated with Studio Weave to develop a concept for the planting scheme that includes an array of productive plants from all over the world: an edible jungle of exotic and unusual species including guava, avocado, pomegranate, mango and quinoa.
“Scientists predict that if the current rate of climate change continues to accelerate, all of these crops could potentially be grown outside in the UK by 2050.” Explain at Studio Swine. The Hothouse will be in situ for a year, displaying the variance and evolution of plants across all seasons – but also seeking to educate and inspire.
“The installation seeks to demonstrate the effects of climate change, whilst also celebrating the beauty of plants and humans’ adaptability, ingenuity and ability to overcome problems and create safe and stable growing environments for plants from all over the world.”
IQL is a new neighbourhood in the heart of Stratford and on the doorstep of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The area has a rich tradition for growing under glass and was historically once dominated by a 20-mile stretch of greenhouses along the Lee Valley corridor. In the 1930s, there were more than 1,300 acres of greenhouses facilitating the production of ornamental plants and flowers, and exotic fruits at the time such as grapes and cucumbers.
“We have already experienced over 1°C temperature increase since pre-industrial times and anything over 2°C could have catastrophic consequences for people and the natural world. It is critical we collectively take urgent action today to avoid further heating of the earth.”
All photos: courtesy of London Design Festival.