SILVER GILT MEDAL WINNER
A disruptive take on a table scape, this organic and wild display abounds with texture and movement; and represents a call from nature to remind us how modern life can easily make us forget about its importance and role in sustaining us. This farmhouse table, a focal point of family life is catapulted off balance by roots breaking free from the ground.
A tidal wave of curated bee-friendly florals emerge, in vibrant pinks, reds and deep berry tones along with seasonal fruits, pouring across the table. Plates slide and glasses fly, creating a moment of everyday life shaken by nature’s force. The ground is covered in rich moss, mulch, ferns, and baskets of fruits.
Above the flowers hover insects hand made from recycled old binding wire, completing a visually captivating scene of reconnection between mankind and nature, a sign of how now, more than ever, our environment must come first.
Reconnect has been three months in the making; from our initial idea to exploring how we could create it in reality. The theme, revolving around the roots of life, gave us the spark to look at the idea of a table scape from a completely different perspective.
From the start, we wanted to create drama and impact, aiming to leave viewers with a clear message to take home, rather than creating an idyllic table scene. So we started exploring the idea of nature disrupting the entire exhibit, making its point.
We thought a lot about the dining table as the focal point in many homes; where we eat, drink, and build the roots that form our lives from generation to generation. We also understand that the dining table is a place where we easily forget that nature sustains us and enables these focal points to exist, reconnecting us in its own way.
So, initial sketches, plans and rationale came together into a build process.
The first challenge (and main one) was how to make a heavy table levitate on one leg as if it had been smashed into the air. The second was in creating an authentic feel of roots breaking out from the earth, considering our exhibit sits on a solid wooden floor. Numerous different methods of levitating were explored before we developed a clever hidden structure which will remain secret (Sorry, we love the magic of it and magicians never reveal their secrets.).
Some intense foraging over a couple of months reaped some incredible roots, stumps and old vines, also supplemented by Honeysuckle taken from our studio garden. The main structure was in place.
From then on, our focus was the floral design and dressing elements. Wire bees were created to help bring the scene to life, antique crockery and silverware positioned and made to look in motion, and all manner of other small details finalised and finessed to ensure that the whole exhibit tells a visual story.
The build took 87 man hours to complete, and included painting the rear boards twice to resemble an old plaster wall and giving fifteen boxes of moss a luxury spa treatment (picking off pine needles, watering, stroking and brushing). It was done in three stages - 1. Paint and furniture, 2. Roots, vines and moss, 3. Bees, crockery, moss, mulch and flowers.
Reconnect uses sustainable materials across the build. There is nothing that can't either be repurposed, recycled or composted.
Here are some of the ways we have ensured that our exhibit connects with the sustainable theme for this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
We've used a reclaimed solid wood farmhouse table, which will continue to be a focal point for family life for years to come.
Crockery, glasses and cutlery will take on a new role in our Norris Floristry kitchen helping to keep our team sustained with tea and cake.
The moss flooring will be reused in other floral projects, and will continue to thrive and grow.
We've used a rock-fibre (volcanic basalt) floral foam to hold the flowers, which is 100% compostable.
The disrupted elements of the table are created from a mix of clever reusable wire and their own ability to stay where they are, and the only glue we use is either potato starch glue or a reusable putty used by the military to stick things to their tanks and vehicles (yes, it's true!).
Our beautiful bees and butterfly are made from recycled florist's binding wire, and will be used in other projects.
The mulch patches, the vines, branches and roots were foraged, and will all be used in other projects or recycled.
The candlesticks will grace the tables of fabulous weddings for years to come, reconnecting people around the country.
And the flowers? After shining in all their glory at Chelsea, we will compost some to help other flowers grow, and the rest will turn into dried confetti to help bring an extra touch of joy to weddings.
We love colour schemes that give a performance. Our blooms were selected to be as vibrant as life, creating a powerful colour dynamic. Red hues have a common thread – passion; capturing a range of emotions that make life around the dining table what it is. Love, anger, excitement, warmth, desire, courage, strength and impulse to name but a few. Red also has significance as a flagging colour, issuing a warning and creating awareness.
For the Reconnect exhibit we have used a mix of glorious blooms and foliage, including Alchemilla Mollis, Chasmantium Latiflorum, Daucus Carota, Digitalis Purpurea, Hydrangea Macrophylla, Paeonia Suffruticosa, Plagiotheceum Undulatum, Pistacia Lentiscus, Rosa 'Naomi' 'Justmore' 'Mansfield Park', Scabiosa Stellata, plus a large amount of Sphagnum Moss
We hope you enjoy the Reconnect exhibit as much as we have creating it. And we hope that it serves as a reminder to cherish, nurture and embrace the value nature has in making our lives possible.
Norris Floristry would also like to give thanks to our partners and supporters, and all those who have given us the encouragement and drive to make this happen.
Please do photograph the exhibit and share on social media, and get in touch if you want to know more about our RHS Chelsea Flower Show journey and us here at Norris Floristry.