Artists Help RCA Student Union Raise Money for Hanging Garden

4 July 2016 -- The Royal College of Art Student Union has today launched a fundraising campaign to raise money to create a suspended, edible indoor garden. Intended to allow students to grow food for the Student Union café, it is part of an ongoing project called Diaspore that creates green social and working spaces throughout the college.

To support the campaign, 40 established and emerging artists have customised Boskee Sky Planters with original artworks. Participating artists include: Jordan Baseman, Beatrice Bonafini, Eloise Bonneviot and Anne de Boer, Gareth Cadwallader, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Jeremy Deller, Dominic Hawgood, Susan Hiller, Marie Jacotey, Dick Jewell, Jean Jullien, Peter Kennard, Lou-Atessa Marcellin, Alix Marie, Nicole Morris, Uriel Orlow, Yuri Pattison, Rachel Pimm, Tai Shani, Ariane Shick, Sarah Staton, Nils-Alix Tabeling, Eleanor Taylor, Francesca Tamse, Hannah Thual, Theo Turpin, Margaux Valengin, Markus Vater, Jesse Wine. Available to buy through Kickstarter.

Boskke will also provide the watering system for the RCA’s structure using their unique reservoir system that gradually feeds water to the plants roots.

The hanging garden will be situated in the foyer space of the award-winning Dyson building. Lending themselves to a greenhouse-like aesthetic, 3 of the 6m high windows at the front of the building will be covered with plants. The planting scheme will be curated by Edward Hill from Studio Friche (IDE, 2015) and will form a plant library to retrace British history via food culture. These will range from native British herbs such as chive and dill, to wild rocket as bought over by the Romans, to Indian Mustard from ex-colonies, as well as forgotten edible weeds such as garlic mustard, and plants used as raw materials, such as natural colour dye plants, among many others.

In keeping with the Fine Art surroundings, each hanging garden has been conceived according to a specific colour palette – Marigold blends into Violet, Borage, Swiss Chard; three varieties of Sage are clustered together above Golden Purslane, garden bed fellow with Soldiers and Sailors, Summer Savory, Garlic Mustard. A more ‘exotic’ spread finds Redbor and Dinosaur Kale alongside Chinese Lantern and a host of the umami family: Shitake, Oyster, King Oyster and Enokitake mushrooms.

The hanging garden continues a series of projects conceived by RCA Student Union – this year they have planted vegetables in the sculpture garden at the Battersea campus, thanks to Studio Voltaire who donated wood from artist Sol Calero’s recent exhibition, and to Delfland organic plants nursery. A series of planters growing aromatic herbs has also been installed in the Kensington Student Union café.

The new green spaces will offer the opportunity to open up the college to local local primary and secondary schools through the ReachOut RCA programme. Students and artists will run workshops and events to explore the space in the wider context of considering eco-systems through the spectrum of food, and to embrace the possibility of consuming food as research in itself. 

Kensington terrace in the Darwin Building, the yard of the Sculpture Building and the Woo balconies all hope to see similar growth – both literal and figurative ­­– with plans for innovative green instalments of a variety of plants.

Kickstarter page: