Coloni and Studio Aikieu celebrate weeds with Plants Out Of Place exhibition, Dezeen
Main image: Unami plate by Whispery Savoury
London Design Festival 2015: an exhibition by Swedish gardening house Coloni and trend forecaster Studio Aikieu will celebrate the potential of “undesirable” and wild-growing species in towns and cities.
To host the Plants Out Of Place exhibition, a blackened timber pavilion designed by local firm Claridge Architects will be erected in the 12-hectare park at the heart of the Queen’s Park Design District in London.
“Given the botanical theme of the event, the exhibition will be hosted outdoors,” said Studio Aikieu founder Jenny Lee. “Designed as a green pavilion, the rare venue will be styled as a garden party event.”
The pavilion will comprise three lightweight timber-framed volumes of varying height, clad in darkened timber strips angled at 45 degrees and spaced 100 millimetres apart to let light through and create patterns where they overlap.
One of the three volumes will remain open to the sky, connecting the space inside with the surrounding park.
The venue will host a series of talks and workshops, which will encourage visitors to learn more about weeds and how people might be able to utilise them more in the future.
“A weed is a plant out of place,” explained Lee. “Our project seeks to engage with the wider communities to reconsider the value of wild plants and how we may utilise them to design for a better future, how we can create a more sustainable way of living in the 21st century.”
The Handmade Apothecary will run Wild Beauty – a workshop enabling people to make their own natural skincare products from mineral-rich wild plants.
A local forager will lead a masterclass in the identification and cultivation of edible wild plants titled Foraging with the Outlaws.
Chef Christopher Jordan will be creating Mauvaise Herbes, a one-off foraged supper in collaboration with mixologists Platterform, which will serve botanical infused cocktails to complement the menu, using weeds as the main ingredients for both.
“As the world’s population expands and climate change continues we will need to look to our feral cousins for survival,” said Lee.
Lee recently published a book called Material Alchemy, which explores the future of materials and highlighted a contemporary interest in “the narrative and provenance of a material and how we are going back to the past to design for the future.” Her research led her to plants and in turn weeds.
“These under-valued plants are overlooked due to the negative connotations given by society,” she told Dezeen.
“This insight has led us to curate a unique event that enabled designers from different backgrounds to respond to a common theme to enable the public to see, experience and be inspired hopefully leading to a wider appreciation of these undervalued species.”
Coloni and Studio Aikieu are not the first to celebrate the humble weed. Layers of plants sprouting from the first-floor terrace and the sloping roof of Formwerkz Architects’ Terrace House intentionally create the appearance of a derelict structure covered with weeds.
DCPP Arquitectos encouraged weeds to grow up through the gaps in the brickwork of a Mexico City residence garden, while Studio Glithero created a series of vases and tiles decorated with shadows of plants and weeds captured on photosensitive chemicals.
Plants Out Of Place will be open in Queens Park from 18 to 22 September 2015 as part of this year’s London Design Festival. The event will also include installations by David Adjaye, Alex Chinneck and Mischer’Traxler, as well as a showcase of seven reinterpretations of an Arne Jacobsen chair by famous architects and an exhibition of Norwegian design.
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