Landscaping an exhibition centre


I have a large selection of digital reproductions of images found during a first visit to ECO archives as a build up to a larger project on the environment in the Ideal Home Show, with a view to a project culminating in building a new housing development at the show with material culture and design historians and the publishing and building trades as resident artist.


These images follow a start to the history of the natural world as featured in exhibitions at Olympia, which is a story which will hopefully unravel vastly as the research spans the history of the exhibition from the 1800s til the present day. Olympia, at the time of building, had the largest unsupported roof, making it the largest single open interior exhibition space. The biggest possible greenhouse.


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Re-staging entire cities- Venice in London and Constantinople pre photography, sadly.

Hoisting the scenic backdrops

In a typical move confusing interior spaces, the exhibition, and a representation of the natural world we see features neither at home in the domestic nor exterior realms combined in a new exhibition hybrid. The 1920 Boy Scout’s Jamboree introducing the oversized yet starkly domestic flower lampshades that would typify and accompany scenic work in many shows to come, especially the Circus and Horse Shows, Royal Tournaments and advertising exhibitions from 1920 onwards, each with increasingly elaborate painted backdrops.

The introduction of the Ideal Home Show (started 1908) Royal Gardens in the early 1900s with their barely perceptable combinations of painted backdrops and styled and landscaped plants where the medium of black and white photography offers a camouflaging which remains today vital in the trompe l’oeils of the plant integrating with the exhibition centre.

reflections in formal and country style pools bely the interior context

New exhibition style dioramas hint at 3 dimensions and compensate for planting with a pelmet style lattice suggestive of vegetation as a theatrical frame

via stylistic interpretations of the natural

Then pared back to representations in the mid-late 1930s


Prompting a huge celebration of all out green-house style planting in the newly opened Horticulture Show

with many thanks to The Ideal Home Show and Brian Browne at ECO