Ever struggled to decide on a meaningful gift to mark your parents ‘nth’ anniversary or your sister’s umpteenth graduation and plumped for a lovely sustainable fruit tree? Well, a relatably similar problem presents itself for the nation as our monarch celebrates her Platinum Jubilee. What on earth do you do to commemorate 70 years on the throne? A classic Red Arrows flypast? A crack children’s choir? They’re just not really going to cut it tbh.
Luckily, designer Thomas Heatherwick is also on message with our fruit-tree concept and has come up with what he – somewhat biblically, it has to be said – has dubbed a ‘tree of trees’.
The tree, an almost megalithic temporary steel-and-timber sculpture encasing 350 native species of British tree within its 21-metre frame, will be located outside the gates of Buckingham Palace gates, with the big reveal planned for the Jubilee Weekend celebrations in June.
If you are wondering how the individual saplings go to make up a giant tree, then there is the usual design wizardry and visual impact that we’ve come to expect from Heatherwick Studios. This is the design house synonymous with numerous London spaces, places and moments, after all. Let’s not forget the 2012 London Olympic Cauldron for the incredible Opening Ceremony or those shiny New Routemasters that conveniently have two staircases. Heatherwick has also designed the organic aesthetic for Coal Drops Yard and the undulating boilerhouse façade at Guy’s Hospital. The structure of the ‘tree of trees’ spirals around a central ‘trunk’ with each individual tree growing in an aluminium pot, together creating an overall silhouette of tree-ness, sort of like pointillism only in foliage form.
After the Jubilee weekend, the trees involved will get a second life as they will all be allocated to selected community groups and organisations across the country to celebrate their work and inspire the nation’s next generation of tree planters. The sculpture itself recognises the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative to ‘plant a tree for the Jubilee’, which has already seen more than a million trees put in the ground during the last six months.
‘It’s an honour for us to be making the Tree of Trees. The structure, created from 350 British native trees and recycled steel, is coming together from workshops and nurseries across the country as one part of an incredible community campaign that’s literally changing the landscape of our nation.’
Feels like next year even a Moonpig card might not be enough…
Enjoy the world’s longest picnic as part of the Jubilee celebrations.
London’s pubs can also stay open longer in celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee.