Tom Dixon, Alys Fowler and Thomas Hoblyn team up to design park
by Alice Wright
A “playful” park is due to open this spring at Greenwich Peninsula, a major new development in South East London.
Peninsula Garden has been created by Tom Dixon’s interior design practice Design Research Studio in collaboration with gardeners Alys Fowler and Thomas Hoblyn.
Together they have created a wild garden carefully designed to highlight the changing seasons. As well as open green spaces, an amphitheatre inspired by the geometry of the Giant’s Causeway, will provide a year-round programme of events encompassing theatre, music, cinema and performance.
“It’s a very playful landscape full of hidden surprises, such as a mini orchard, hills to roll down or climb up and conquer and an amphitheatre for spontaneous performances,” say Alys and Thomas. “We want users to determine their own paths, to play with the space. We actively want to encourage people to climb up on the mounds and get a different view of the space.”
The team have also thought carefully about how younger users will experience the garden.
“Children need challenging landscape, places that physically demand their attention and fascinate them,” they say. “Play within a park doesn’t have to be about municipal swings and slides that are easily mastered and tired of. Our landscape is the playground.”
The garden has been designed to be rich in biodiversity and uses wildflower turf, nitrogen-fixing trees and an evolving perennial layer that will self-seed.
“It is a park that is as good for bees as it is for people,” say Alys and Thomas. “The plants were chosen to highlight the seasons; the brilliant soft new growth of Larix in spring or the flurry of apple blossom, the copper hue of the autumn leaves and fruit to pick. By summer the lawns are awash with flowers.”
The design team has also drawn on the area’s past. The orchards and wild crab apples dotted throughout the new garden reflect the peninsula’s early role as a market garden for London, whilst the man-made features recall the heavy industry of the last century.
The garden is linked to chef Stevie Parle’s new restaurant, Craft London. Its Market Garden will supply produce for the kitchens as well as space for Parle and his team to grow and experiment with often rare or hard to find ingredients close to the site. Market stalls and seating will allow people to gather here during the day and evening.