The joy of green spaces is being replicated in some of London’s most unlikely spots, WGSN Travel Contributor Emily Johnson reports
Foliage in December typically manifests as festive holly wreaths or pine trees dripping in gold and silver – but in London right now, running parallel to the festive Christmas plants, a tropical flora and fauna bloom is happening.
In fact, bold, bright greenery in London is at an all-time high; with 47% of the capital covered in the stuff and The Peckham Coal Line (London’s answer to The High Line) reaching its crowdfunding target, it’s only set to climb higher. Off the back of this there have been a plethora of new openings in food, retail and architecture all inspired by shrubbery, flowers and trees – largely of the tropical kind. So the next time you need a hit of botanical inspiration, venture to one of these greenery hotspots.
1. & Other Stories
72 Kings Road SW3 4UG / 44 (0)20 3402 0160
Neighbourhood: Knightsbridge/Sloane Street
H&M owned store ‘& Other Stories’ has opened up its second London location in Chelsea and has chosen a botanical theme. The façade is decorated with flowers and the interior boasts an array of indoor plants that elevate the space and give a luxe, considered feel to the high street store. By tapping into interior trends (vegetation = winning right now) and employing curated visual merchandising, this store achieves a high-end yet welcoming first impression.
2. Barbican Conservatory
Silk Street EC2Y 8DS / 44 (0)2076384141
This hidden gem of a green space is nestled in the heart of the sprawling Brutalist landmark that is The Barbican. Containing over 2000 species of tropical plants and trees, the conservatory provides an unexpected, lush green haven amidst concrete pillars and industrial corridors. The mixtures of texture and colour provides unlimited inspiration and first hand botanical reference imagery, whilst also acting as a place of respite and serenity in the heart of London.
3. Flora Indica
242 Old Brompton Road SW5 0DE
Neighbourhood: Knightsbridge / Sloane Street
This British/Indian bar and restaurant is inspired by Indian Flora and Fauna. Botanical cocktails and fragrant, floral spiced dishes are on the menu, seamlessly tying in the food with the eclectic, blossoming décor. The interiors feature hand crafted flower ornaments and extracts from the restaurant’s namesake (an Indian greenery directory) adorn the walls. This visual link from concept to menu is a thorough exploration of a singular theme – a strategy that could be adapted to suit other, non-dining ventures.
Tooley Street SE1
This modular park/seating solution acts as a combination of air quality monitor and bench. The undulating, slatted design provides space for pockets of vegetation, brightening up the busy road whilst contributing to air purification. In a triple threat move, this project raises awareness of pollution, provides unexpected and fun intrigue for pedestrians and only takes up the space of two car parking spots – highlighting the importance of compact, practical design within a busy city.
1 Sky Garden Walk EC3M 8AF / 44 (0)2073372344
London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ building is host to a secret garden – the UK’s highest public garden! In an enlarged glass dome atop the tower, sloping landscaped greenery has taken over. The glass conservatory provides uninterrupted views across London and an incredible light-filled space. A vibrant collection of year-round flowering plants and expansive trees provide visual stimulation, but it’s the space itself that’s the real winner, creating a sense of serenity and peace uncommon in the heart of urban London.
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