Installation preview: Tutti Frutti Boating Lake, Kew Gardens, London, until September 1 2013
Reachable via a walkway running across the tranquil waters in front of the famous Palm House, a floating pineapple island, dotted with colourful, drifting rowing boats, has been installed at the London botanical haven of Kew Gardens.
© Ann Charlott Ommedal
Bompas and Parr, the culinary pair whose extravagant exploits will come as little surprise to anyone familiar with their flair for flamboyance, have created the Tutti Frutti Boating Lake. It is part of Kew’s summer festival, IncrEdibles, celebrating the diversity of edible plants.
“The pineapple – perhaps the most lauded bromeliad – was long seen as the king of fruits,” explains Sam Bompas, saluting Kew’s “fantastically extensive and inspiring” resident bromeliad collection.
“It is a lush and tropical treat combining the bounty of strawberries with an exotic citrus tang.
“The fruits were once so rare and wondrous that they would change hands for fortunes. Hostesses would rent them by the hour for dinner parties to impress snobs and rivals.
“As London natives, we are obsessed with pineapples in architecture. Take a wander around the capital and you will see that the triumphant pineapple is a London-wide architectural motif.
“You can find them everywhere, from the pineapples of Lambeth bridge to the finials of St Paul’s Cathedral.
“The pineapple at the centre of the Tutti Frutti installation will be the most triumphant of them all.”
Visitors can hire a boat, traverse the pond and enter a secret banana grotto snuck beneath the pineapple, where staff are wearing uniforms fashioned by the artists and menswear designer Kit Neale, with the resulting prints described as “hypnotic”.
“This is going to be a grand adventure,” adds Bompas, whose new, fruit salad-based book features contributions by Martin Parr and Pippa Middleton.
“Kew has always been a place of pilgrimage and inspiration for Harry [Parr] and myself. To collaborate with them makes complete sense for us – their concern with the world’s plant life directly provides us with our raw materials of creativity.
“Our design process always starts with a raw ingredient – be it fruit, alcohol, chocolate, or coffee. Trace any ingredient back far enough and you get to plants.
“We always like to think that our work encourages people to think again. By applying architectural techniques, we work to persuade people to look again at what is on the end of their forks.
“The same principle is equally applicable to Kew. The Gardens are an emerald treasury for London.
“By creating a sensational installation, it’s possible to persuade Londoners to become tourists in their own city. We defy them not to have fun.”
- Open 9.30am-5.30pm. Admission £12.50-£16 (free for under-17s). Book online. Follow Kew on Twitter @kewgardens.
© Ann Charlott Ommedal