Van Gogh Vertical Garden in London’s Trafalgar Square

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Must see: For the first time ever, a painting has been brought to life and made into a living wall!  It’s exciting and it’s spectacular and when you first walk past , you might think that it’s actually a painting. But look closely – plants!!!  Anyway, this piece of art is  available for the world to see until October 2012.  So, if you’re inLondon for the Olympics, get yourself to Trafalgar Square and plant yourself in front of the wall of the National Gallery (which also has free entry) and check out this spectacular piece of living wall art.

The National Gallery together with GE selected a painting called ‘A Wheatfield, with Cypresses’. This work of art was painted by Van Gogh whilst he was a patient at the St-Remy mental asylum. Note: the original work of art is available for viewing in Room 45 of the National Gallery.  Remember, that this painting was crafted by one man in 1889. Now, to create living wall art of the same caliber and complexity using plants, a team of designers had to form together to develop a plan,  bringing the masterpiece back to life.



How they created the living wall art: To recreate the genius of Van Gogh the designers were essentially using a different medium which brought many different issues of texture and colour. They selected over 8,000 plants and used more than 26 varieties to mimic the strong bands of colour which are found in the original picture. The varieties included in the design had to match the different brush strokes and the different textures.


The designers used a Living Walling System. The system they used had 640 modules which were grown before in a nursery. A predetermined design was important to ensure that they could match the painting. Grid-like modules were used which indicated where varieties should be planted.


Once the plants had mostly grown, the individual modules were transported to London. The plants had to be put together in the right sequence to create the picture as a whole.


Within a tight timeframe of three days, the modules were then hung vertically inTrafalgar Square for the world to see the incredible living wall.


The living wall does need slight maintenance and this is carried out fortnightly throughout the UK spring and summer. The general maintenance includes visual checks of plant health, watering and pruning. However, this walling system does include an in-built irrigation system to ensure that the plants are watered regularly.



Why did they do it: The National Gallery embarked on this project to stimulate interest in its paintings. Also, the National Gallery has a commitment to being environmentally responsible and they have a plan to increase energy efficiency and reduce their carbon emissions by up to 40% within a four year period. This single but spectacular project alone is 62% of the gallery’s target emissions.



How to Find it: Travelling roundLondon head straight to Trafalgar Square. Your closet tube stations are Charring Cross /Piccadilly Circus / Leicester Square Underground station. It’s an easy walk from there!


Comments: Please send us a comment if you have seen it or if you have any questions on how you can create something like this!

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1 Comment

  1. David Cayford

    This is the most wonderful constuct that i have seen,amazing,brilliant,i love it kudos to everyone involved.thank you so much.

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