In 2012 we were commissioned by East Malling Research (EMR) to design and build an exhibition at the Chelsea Flower Show. Founded in 1913, EMR is known all over the world for the propagation of fruit tree rootstocks, which is the root system of a host tree onto which a fruit tree is grafted, imparting properties such as increased fruit size and resistance to drought.
We used a timeline to show the past, present and future of EMR, which was constructed around a 20ft apple tree showing both the tree and its rootstock. The exhibit also included displays of glass-fronted planters (rhizotrons) used to study the rootstock growth.
To communicate this we worked with This Is Studio and Bill Porter to design the graphics, animations and all supporting media.
The exhibition was constructed from a bespoke mild steel frame and clad with panels of CNC cut plywood to contrast the dark wood of the tree and its roots. To give the illusion that the tree was unsupported, we designed a system to hold the tree from the back and then used folded wire rods to support the roots.
This was our first exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show, and we were awarded a Silver Gilt medal. Given this success, we are now planning our own show garden.
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