What do Marios Schwab, Peter Pilotto, Roksanda Ilincic, James Long, MBE Lulu Kennedy, Maarten van der Horst, and Mary Katrantzou all have in common? Aside from playing an integral part of London's celebrated fashion talent, they've recently collaborated with international department store Harvey Nichols unveiling a British Designers Secret Garden installation at the Knightsbridge's Fifth Floor Cafe Terrace. The unique garden space also celebrates the forthcoming Royal Horticulture Society's Chelsea Flower Show.
First up is James Long's 'Bamboo Palace', a bamboo covered golden alcove pays homage to the work of Brian Eno and the surrealist garden of English eccentric, Edward James that seats up the six people. The decadent snug takes direct inspiration from his bamboo printed shirts from his current Spring Summer 2012 collection.
Marios Schwab also chose to create an outdoor shelter, collaborating with fine artist Tom Gallant for his mysterious sculpture slash confession box. With it's jewel toned stain-glass window ceiling, it's hard to sit in Schwab's hortus conclusus and not look up and be mesmerised by the ornate structure.
And it wouldn't be a Secret Garden without Maarten van der Horst's signature botanical prints from his collection with Lulu Kennedy's Lulu & Co.. The bird of paradise motif has taken over the tabletops and glass vases on the outdoor terrace, adding a tropical touch throughout the outdoor garden.
Roksanda Ilincic's strong sense of clean lines, tone and colour was realised in the form of a partitioned living flowered wall which is as visually stimulating as it is tactile. Mary Katrantzou translates her 'Balalaika' print from the Spring Summer 2012 collection straight onto the terrace windows as a floral projection. And lastly Peter Pilotto's exotic floral prints have been printed onto wood and perspex, framing the terrace balcony.
Each designer has also conjured up a cocktail with Beefeater Gin to go with their respective contributions to the installation. The Fifth Floor Cafe's Executive Chef Jonas Karlsson has also created a special seasonal salad menu with herbaceous influences designed to complement the exclusive details.
The installation brings a whole new meaning to the word 'polymath' and although these days it's not unusual for practitioners to apply their creative thinking to multiple art and design fields, rarely is it ever celebrated, particularly in such a high profile location like Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge. Not only does it bring a new wider audience to a wealth of progressive talent, but it's a chance for the artists/designers to show a lesser known, and perhaps unexpected strand of creative output to their fans. Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more cross-pollination of creative fields going on in public spaces in the future.
Heres what some of the designers had to say about their collaborations at the party.