London Design Festival presents The Hothouse, a Landmark Project designed by Studio Weave

London Design Festival returns to the capital this autumn from 12 – 20 September with an exciting programme of activity, putting a spotlight on the brilliance of the capital’s design talent. The Festival will provide a platform for the design community to showcase work at a time when it is needed more than ever, helping to stimulate the creative economy and support both emerging and established designers. 

For the 18th edition, the festival presents The Hothouse, a Landmark Project designed by London-based architecture practice Studio Weave, supported by developers Lendlease and London Continental Railways. It consists of a large-scale installation located at International Quarter London (IQL). The structure of The Hothouse is reminiscent of a Victorian glasshouse and will provide a controlled habitat for cultivating plants that would not ordinarily grow within the UK’s climate.

IQL is a new neighbourhood in the heart of Stratford and on the doorstep of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The area has a rich tradition for growing under glass and was historically once dominated by a 20-mile stretch of greenhouses along the Lee Valley corridor. In the 1930s, there were more than 1,300 acres of greenhouses facilitating the production of ornamental plants and flowers, and exotic fruits at the time such as grapes and cucumbers.

The environment of The Hothouse can be regulated and adapted to suit the plants within. Garden Designer Tom Massey has collaborated with Studio Weave to develop a concept for the planting scheme that includes an array of productive plants from all over the world: an edible jungle of exotic and unusual species.

The crops that will be grown include guava, orange, gourd, chia seed, avocado, pomegranate, quinoa, mango, sweet potato, lemon, sugarcane, chickpea, loquat and pineapple. Scientists predict that if the current rate of climate change continues to accelerate, all of these crops could potentially be grown outside in the UK by 2050 – highlighting the reality of a rapidly changing climate.

The Hothouse will be in situ for a year, displaying the variance and evolution of plants across all seasons – but also seeking to educate and inspire. The installation seeks to demonstrate the effects of climate change, whilst also celebrating the beauty of plants and humans’ adaptability, ingenuity and ability to overcome problems and create safe and stable growing environments for plants from all over the world.