British Council represents urban garden and design exhibition for Helsinki World Design Capital

An urban garden designed by award-winning UK collective Wayward Plants will be showcased at World Design Capital Helsinki 2012, alongside an exhibition of six of the UK’s best designers.

PlantTramRepresented by The British Council, this project features a tram that will travel Helsinki’s transport network picking up passengers who will donate plants, culminating in the construction of an evolving garden installation on a disused industrial site in Suvilahti, north east of Helsinki.

The creative industries have the power to shape people’s understanding of the UK, and The British Council enables collaborations between institutions and designers across the world. The garden will form the centre point of the UK’s exhibition at Helsinki World Design Capital and will showcase the UK’s contribution to innovative design.

Vicky Richardson, Director of Architecture, Design and Fashion at the British Council said: It’s exciting to be commissioning such an imaginative and pertinent project for Helsinki World Design Capital. The Plant Tram Urban Garden and exhibition will form a brilliant showcase for the UK’s design and creative industries.”

Plant Tram Urban Action, the “magical tram journey”, will encourage passengers to map out potential growing spaces en route, strengthening the network of green spaces and celebrating urban growing in Helsinki.

Plant Tram Urban Garden, a weaving wooden structure, will be built using timber recycled from the Wastelands XXXII European Students Assembly, a pioneering symposium of 500 European emerging architects and designers which takes place at the Suvilahti site a few weeks prior to the construction of the garden. The structure, resembling flying tram tracks, is inspired by the iconic wooden roller coaster at the Linnanmäki Amusement Park, which opened in Helsinki for the 1952 Olympics. Following the exhibition, the garden will be reconfigured by environmental organisation Dodo as a permanent urban garden thereby creating a lasting legacy for the project. Alongside the structure, large mobile planters will provide seating and fruit tree planting for a mobile orchard. A shipping container will also be converted into a temporary 'tram station' which will document the project participants and exhibit maps that illustrate the journeys the plants have travelled.

An exhibition alongside the urban garden will display six exemplary design objects representing the theme of everyday life. Curated by the British Council’s Architecture, Design and Fashion team these are: Margaret Calvert’s ‘Children Crossing’ road sign; the Plumen Light Bulb by Holger and Sam Wilkinson; Martino Gamper’s stackable ‘Arnold Circus’ stools; Marion Deuchars’ ‘Let’s Make Some Great Art’ book; a Lifesaver Systems ‘Nanofiltration Water Flask’; and Carlo Volpi’s knitted wool jumper.

The garden will be located alongside the Everyday Discoveries exhibition, which is the culmination of Helsinki World Design capital and features design from 26 countries.

The project is created by London-based Wayward Plants in partnership with forward-thinking environmental organisation Dodo, and mobile exhibition and performance platform Culture Tram.

Plant Tram Urban Action will be from 3pm-4pm on September 5, 6, 7. The exact itinerary will be published on and on the Culture Tram web site ( The garden will take place at Suvilahti, a disused power plant and gasworks in the north east of the city, as part of the Everyday Discoveries exhibition during the 6-16 September.

The exhibition takes place in an area of Helsinki called Suvilahti, which is an old industrial space, refurbished for cultural activities and businesses supporting culture.

The exhibition runs from 6-16 September 2012, with an opening ceremony on Wednesday 5 September at 18.00.

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. It is a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

Its 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

It earns over 75% of our annual turnover of nearly £700 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25% and matches every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.

For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and

Wayward Plants is a London-based landscape practice - an award-winning collective of designers, artists and urban growers. Wayward Plants creates imaginative responses to derelict sites and meanwhile spaces that explore social exchange and botanical narratives. Their projects include the celebrated Union Street Urban Orchard (2010) and the Urban Physic Garden (2011), a pop-up garden of medicinal plants, which brought together nearly 200 volunteers and hosted more than 100 events, from community workshops to high profile performances and talks. The Urban Physic Garden is currently featured in the British Council’s touring exhibition, Everything Forever Now.

Wayward Plants takes a unique approach to landscape architecture through the creation of narrative environments. Its landscapes express stories that connect people through nature, creating vibrant places that are productive, meaningful and imaginative.

Dodo is a Helsinki-based environmental organisation for urban folk which relies on the power of knowledge and argument. Dodo is about talking and doing. It organises public events, discussion groups, projects and more. Dodo brings together people from different backgrounds to exchange expertise, experiences and ideas. Dodo has a flexible and open ethos which makes it easy for talk to lead to action. Many of its important projects started out as ideas or visions developed in small discussion groups. The offspring of Dodo include the wind power company Lumituuli Ltd, Manombo Rain Forest Conservation Project and Dodona Combo Discussion

Forum Project. Urban gardening in Helsinki was started by Dodo-activists in Pasila in 2009 and it has grown into a notable movement in Helsinki with several community gardens across the city. In 2011 Dodo received the city of Helsinki’s environmental award for its urban gardening act.

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