Winner of the Silver Flora Medal.
Influential Garden Designer, John Brookes has said After nearly 50 years of Chelsea visiting, this was not a memorable one. Designs seem to be going back to traditional, the moderns (except the roof garden [Patricia Fox for RBS], which I liked), looked very dated.
A hard-earned compliment indeed for Patricia’s first major show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower show. This ‘rooftop’ inspired concept, entitled Rooftop Workplace of Tomorrow, has been a critically acclaimed, much photographed, award winning design and was prominently praised throughout both consumer and trade media coverage of RHS Chelsea. It has also attracted substantial commercial interest from those who experienced it ‘live’. One minute it was being used as a backdrop to a photographic shoot featuring a most well known British medal winning Olympian; the next minute it was being used by Alan Titchmarsh as his favoured spot to introduce his first live BBC coverage of Chelsea 2012; the next Patricia was being asked if she could design a series of Penthouses in Chelsea Creek, London for St George. Rooftop Workplace of Tomorrow certainly struck a resounding chord.
Rooftop Workplace of Tomorrow is an extension of the working office and utilises unused urban rooftop space, turning it into a haven of relaxation that inspires and provides a thought provoking working environment, in the midst of a concrete jungle. Patricia’s visionary landscape design is a fusion of aesthetic, sustainable beauty and hi tech utilitarianism.
Sitting together in harmony throughout the garden are state of the art features and portable technologies—such as an outdoor 3x3m LCD Sports Screen, wi-fi connection and tablets (all provided by Toshiba for the purposes of Chelsea)—highly original planting and edible features such as a herbal tea bar (pick your fresh herbs from a live herb wall), and cutting edge bespoke furniture and stylish hanging ‘C’ shaped chairs (the modern take on the classic ‘egg’ chair).
With sustainability and ease of maintenance an integral part of the Rooftop Workplace of Tomorrow design, Patricia selected several ground breaking materials new to a Chelsea Show Garden (but not new to Aralia!), such as decking made from a fast growing bamboo which is lightweight yet extremely tough. This feature certainly drew the admiration of one Paul Mckenna who, it transpires, is a knowledgeable rooftop gardener and was most enthusiastic when viewing Aralia’s show garden.
Collaboration in design was a key part of Aralia’s approach to the Rooftop Workplace of Tomorrow. All furniture is from the Thomas Bramwell E-collection Range and is original, bespoke and made from up-cycled materials. It is outdoor furniture for clients who take the environment seriously but want a stunning look at the same time. When the weather is inclement (or ‘British’), a stylish shelter has been integrated which Patricia selected from Cube UK. It is a cutting edge modular Cube building which can be personalised to suit the user, and has a spacious and airy feel to it, with a chic and contemporary look. The soft landscaping scheme included calm and understated planting which has been used to create a very textural, structured yet beautifully delicate space. The colour scheme is a mix of green and silver blue foliage, and simple white flowering plants such as Yarrow (Achillea Millefolioum), Rocket Candytuft (Iberis Amara) and White Campion (Silene Latiflora). The main focal plant is a stunning Pleached Field Maple (Acer Campestre) to give some stature to the garden, a West Himalayan Birch (Betula Pendula) has been selected for its ashy bark which compliments the white flora throughout the garden. A Norway Maple (Acer Globosum) has been used to provide a natural ‘umbrella’ of subtle shade. Buxus cubes, Thymus balls and Buxus hedging provides the necessary structure to the garden, mimicking the ‘rounded square’ tablet inspired shape which is used consistently throughout the garden.
Patricia hopes to inspire anyone to extend their working offices into the outdoors, to help those busy workers of the 21st Century stay fresh and revitalised. Aralia would love to talk to developers who might be interested in contemporary roof terrace designs. She also aims to encourage people to ‘green up’ their rooftop and outdoor spaces whether it’s commercial or domestic, to turn it into an inspiring, beautiful yet functional space filled with lush planting to help sustain the environment.