East village - London’s newest neighbhourhood – exhibits show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
East Village – the legacy identity of the Athletes Village – will exhibit a breathtaking show garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The East Village Garden will bring east London to west London with a magnificent garden that celebrates the birth of London’s newest neighbourhood.
Sponsored by joint owner Delancey, the East Village Garden has been meticulously designed by world-renowned landscape architects, Michael Balston and Marie-Louise Agius of Balston Agius.
Taking inspiration directly from the form, history and ethos of East Village, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and surrounding Lea Valley area, the garden celebrates the creation and delivery of London’s ‘Legacy Promise’ – a neighbourhood that offers the best of city living with the luxury of vast amounts of open space and spacious private balconies.
The design also draws on aspects of the local history and environment to create a work grounded in Stratford and its remarkable renaissance over the last 5 years, and to Delancey’s long-term commitment to London and a thoughtful approach to the social, built and environmental habitat.
The East Village garden has an urban feel, characterised by materials including timber, glass and steel, which resonate with the contemporary design and construction of the East Village neighbourhood. It is surrounded by an abstract ‘urban wall’ to create the sense of a city. However, the garden is also heavily plant orientated, filled with drifts of herbaceous plants, shrub borders and mature trees. This creates the juxtaposition of ‘urban’ and ‘green’, which reflects the ethos of London’s newest neighbourhood.
The garden is based around a series of leaf shaped areas including lawns, a body of water and planting beds through which runs a long, sinuous path. The form reflects the curvaceous private and public gardens in East Village, the rounded shape of the neighbourhood’s six acres of wetlands and the circular architecture of East Village, particularly Chobham Academy – the world-class education campus set within East Village. On a wider scale, the shape of the garden references the new landscape of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with its long winding river, meandering banks, paths and the curving architecture of the Stadium, Velodrome and Aquatics Centre.
At the rear of the garden will be located a curved seat with a rising glass back. Contemporary in material and form, it nods to the enclosed vertical glass balconies that are attached to many of the apartments in East Village. It also alludes to the history of the Lea Valley, which runs northwards from the heart of E20. The Lea Valley once hosted a large concentration of glasshouses, nurseries and market gardens, which for years serviced Covent Garden Market with flowers, fruit and vegetables.
Along one side of the garden will be a chevron shaped deck that extends into the garden to give visitors the impression of being ‘in the garden’. This breaking of the garden boundary is symbolic of the connection between East Village and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the creation of a vibrant landscape from an area that was once a wasteland. Featuring a glass balustrade, steel uprights and a curved timber roof, the deck is reminiscent of the balconies at East Village – city gardens that connect their urban residents with the bountiful nature around them.
Jamie Ritblat, CEO of Delancey, commented: “As an investor and developer in the property sector, Delancey is passionate about creating high-quality spaces that people enjoy both for work and for play. We are thrilled about the opportunity to be able to reflect this passion at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show, through our sponsorship of a major show garden, named in recognition of the purchase last year of the Olympic Village, now renamed East Village. As that acquisition offered a unique opportunity to be able to develop and deliver a vibrant new neighbourhood and community for London, so too is the chance to be able to sponsor a unique and vibrant garden at this prestigious world-class event.
We work hard to ensure that all our developments link both urban and green living, and we can think of no better manifestation of that than East Village, which will offer future residents the best of high-quality city living, both on the inside and on the outside. We are delighted that Michael Balston and Marie-Louise Agius will successfully bring this principle to life within the East Village Garden.”
Originally established in 1983, Balston Agius is a practice with experience in architecture, landscape design, landscape planning, horticulture and garden management – in both urban, country and show settings. Michael Balston is an architect, landscape architect and longstanding member of the Council for the Royal Horticultural Society. He has designed three previous show gardens at Chelsea Flower Show, winning gold and best in show at his last in 1999 (see below).
1985 – Chelsea Flower Show – Vogue Sponsored Garden
– Silver Gilt Medal
1986 – Chelsea Flower Show – Faberge Sponsored Garden
– Gold Medal
1999 – Chelsea Flower Show – Daily Telegraph sponsored Garden
– Gold Medal and best in show
Marie-Louise Agius is a landscape designer whose portfolio includes large private estates, urban gardens and RHS show garden design. Characterising themselves as the ‘new kid on the block and the seasoned professional show designer’, it is a pairing of generations that reflects the theme of the old and the new, which runs through East Village and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Commenting on the East Village Garden, Michael Balston said: “When I visited East Village for the first time I was struck by the amount of public and private green space and the attention that had been given to creating balconies, gardens, wetlands, orchards and parks that were full of plants, trees, colour and water. It will undoubtedly bring great pleasure to residents and was fundamental to the inspiration behind the East Village Garden.”
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the pinnacle of horticultural excellence that each year sets the agenda for horticulturists and gardeners across the globe. Each year the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea are transformed into show gardens, inspirational small gardens and vibrant horticultural displays that make up the world's most famous flower show. The show gardens are regarded as the highlight of the five day show with designers aspiring to create a gold medal-winning show garden. Attended by 157,000 visitors each year, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a truly special day out for gardeners and visitors alike. This year’s show (21 – 25 May 2013) is set to be even more special as it marks the centenary of the Flower Show on the Chelsea site, first held in 1913.