THE URBAN RESEARCHER



380:1 was an installation of 380 sapling hornbeam trees at ‘The Platform’, in the OXO Tower Courtyard, for London Design Week 2017.

Each sapling tree symbolised 1 of the 380 adult trees required to absorb a person’s individual CO2 footprint in the UK, across the year. The trees made up a micro-forest, through which members of the public were invited to walk, explore and reflect.



BACKGROUND
Global warming along with other environmental issues have been in the press for decades while continuously we are bombarded with infographics and statistics aiming to visualise human’s current impact on the planet. Unfortunately though they often fail, providing intangible examples or raw numbers that are impossible to visualise.

The inspiration behind 380:1 was to help physically visualise carbon offsetting and personal impact on the planet in a more tangible form. The estimation of 380 trees was the result of a calculation using data available on the Internet.

Hornbeam or carpinus betulus is a native tree to the south of Britain. It was selected for the installation due to its versatility of being able to be trained into a hedge or grown as a standard. Hornbeam therefore is the perfect tree species for all gardens no matter the size.



CLOSING THE LOOP
All installations create waste with often the majority of the materials from an installation ending up in landfill. For 380:1, an installation exploring carbon footprint and human impact on the planet, a different approach was required during the design and planning.

Trees for Cities was established as a partner to help find a permanent location for the trees after the installation. As of the 13th January 2018, the 380 hornbeam whips were planted in Sutcliffe Park in Greenwich along side another 1600 whips creating a long, mixed species hedge.

The wooden plinths housing the trees during the installation were donated to a travelling opera to be used as a backdrop on stage. Many thanks to Ian at Martinspeed, who reached out to his network and found the opera company.



SPONSORS
I would like to thank Coin Street Community Builders for the invitation to install, the GLA and Ecosia for their generous funding, those individuals and friends who donated to the GoFundMe campaign and finally Martinspeed for lending us a lorry for the rig and de-rig.