The Mobile Arboretum is inspired by the collective history of the London markets. Both Aldgate and Cheapside have been or still are hubs of activity and trade in London from the medieval produce and poultry markets of Cheapside to the buzzing fabric markets of Petticoat Lane. Markets are full of brimming barrows and carts, overflowing with produce, delicate frames hung with drapes of fabric, pinstriped and patterned canopies that shelter the people of the market. Food and fabrics mingle with entertainment, music, trade and conversation of mingling communities. This project plays with the idea of an urban forest, but it needed to be more than mere planters. It had to reflect the sites history and be a part of its present.
The Mobile Arboretum - a series of market “carts” or “barrows” are filled with saplings to create a new home for trees. The barrows will house the trees/saplings over the summer, taking care of them until it is time to move them on to their new homes, helping to see the legacy of a real urban forest at schools and community gardens in and around the neighbourhood.
The project was sponsored by Aldgate Connect BID and the European Regional Development Fund for the London Festival of Architecture.