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Tubosider Pipes create giant planters for South Bank courtyard


As the UK’s no 1 manufacturer of steel stormwater tanks, drainage pipes and culverts, Tubosider’s corrugated steel pipes are put to a wide range of uses, but few like this…

In a strikingly creative extension to their more traditional roles in water management, RHS Gold medal winning designer Matthew Childs has now installed a range of Tubosider pipes as an integral feature of his latest work – an urban Remix Garden on London’s South Bank.

Opened on 11 September, Matthew’s garden in the courtyard of the iconic OXO Tower Wharf, right on the Thames near Blackfriars Bridge, is one of four unique installations for Cityscapes 2013.

Following the launch of Cityscapes in 2012, the urban garden festival returned in 2013 with another imaginative project to stimulate visitors and residents. Since August, a show garden from this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show has rematerialized, remixed into four new gardens in the same way as a song might be remixed by different producers.

Tub2Matthew and fellow designers Anoushka Feiler, Daniel Lobb and Jon Sims have all made impressive appearances at RHS shows in recent years, with Matthew winning the Gold Medal for ‘Best Conceptual Garden’ at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012.

Materials and plants for the 2013 Cityscapes project come from top UK design duo Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam’s highly acclaimed Cloudy Bay Discovery Garden, which won an impressive Silver-Gilt medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May.

For his particular remix, Matthew decided to create and plant out large-scale circular beds raised high at different angles. In correlation to his design for Hampton Court Palace, which won Best Show Garden and was inspired by the principle that water is life and needs to be recovered, he researched the culverts market for the best products to work with.

Tub3Tubosider was easily able to cut and shape its products to his requirements, creating a structure of five individual pipes in diameters of 2600 to 1000mm. Installing the whole garden at OXO Tower Wharf then took just two days, right on time for its 11 September opening. “The culverts worked a treat and make magnificent giant planters!” said Matthew.

Cityscapes is organised in partnership with the South Bank and Bankside Cultural Quarter, and aims to bring a creative new approach to the way urban parks and gardens are designed through the creation of temporary and permanent gardens.

The project was conceived by Cityscapes Director and landscape designer Darryl Moore, a former DJ, musician and producer, to draw a parallel between garden design and music culture, by highlighting the variety of ways that a pre-determined set of elements can be reinterpreted and recombined into a variety of different and distinctive forms.

“The feedback to Matthew’s garden has been great,” he says. “That courtyard is in such a visible location, seen by discerning commuters, residents and visitors, so they are delighted to see what was just grey paving transformed by such a bold and imaginative creation.”

A fifth and final Remix Garden designed by the original designers Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam will then appear at the RHS London Shades of Autumn Show on 22-23 October, before completing its lifecycle with materials ending up in local community garden spaces.