Welcome to a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of the Magical Hideaway, the captivating exhibit created by Randle Siddeley Limited (RSL) and Blue Forest for the Chelsea Flower Show 2023. In this exclusive post, we will introduce you to Gavin, the Design Director at RSL, and Emma, Associate and Lead Landscape Architect, who played pivotal roles in bringing this enchanting world to life.
Gavin, Design Director at RSL, is responsible for overseeing the design team and shaping the strategic direction of RSL’s creative endeavours. With over 20 years of experience in plants, horticulture, and landscape design, Gavin brings a wealth of knowledge and a discerning eye for detail to every project undertaken at RSL.
Emma, the lead designer, brought her imaginative ideas to form the foundation of the exhibit’s design. As the Associate and Lead Landscape Architect, Emma contributed her extensive knowledge and expertise to the design of the garden surrounding the Magical Hideaway. Her dedication to creating a harmonious blend of colours, textures, and shapes in the garden played a crucial role in crafting the immersive and magical experience that visitors encountered.
“Emma and I have worked together for a long time, and our shared vision for the Magical Hideaway made the process incredibly enjoyable. We understand each other’s strengths and complement each other’s ideas, which has been instrumental in bringing this project to life.”
“Working alongside Gavin has been an absolute pleasure. We’re not just colleagues; we’re friends. We’ve developed a strong bond over the years, and it makes our collaboration even more enjoyable. Despite being 8 months pregnant by the time the show started, I was determined to contribute to this project. This wouldn’t have been possible with such a supportive team bringing the project together during the build.”
“Emma’s dedication and passion for her work are truly inspiring. Even with her impending arrival, she didn’t let it hinder her commitment to the project. We’re all going to miss her presence, but we’re eagerly awaiting meeting the little one and her return next year. We can’t wait to have her back with fresh ideas and renewed energy.”
Gavin and Emma were the driving forces behind the creation of the Magical Hideaway. Their creative vision, expertise, and dedication brought the whimsical and magical concept to life. However, creating the Magical Hideaway posed its own set of challenges.
All the designers at The Chelsea Flower Show will tell you that it requires meticulous planning and coordination with plant nurseries and growers to ensure the availability of specific plants and flowers during the event. Fortunately, the team had the opportunity to work with Kelways Plants from Somerset, one of the few nurseries capable of producing the required quality for the show. However, due to a particularly chilly spring, plant growth cycles were disrupted, affecting the timing of flowering materials.
“We had to adapt our plans and make last-minute adjustments to accommodate the changing growth cycles,” Emma shared. “It required quick thinking and resourcefulness to ensure that the exhibit would still showcase the playful and whimsical atmosphere we envisioned.”
The team faced an unexpected setback when the proposed showcasing specimen tree did not burst into spectacular leaf as hoped, necessitating a last-minute change. Deepdale nursery who supplied our tree were able to support us with this and provide a beautiful multi-stem Carpinus betulus. Additionally, during the construction of the Magical Hideaway, the team encountered unexpected challenges. Securing the pots on the curved roof of the hillside hollow proved to be trickier than anticipated, as they kept sliding down. The team had to find creative solutions to securely fasten the pots while maintaining a natural and seamless appearance.
“We faced some amusing moments with the pots sliding down on the roof,” Emma chuckled. “But our great construction team persevered and found a way to make them stay put. It was all part of the process of bringing our vision to life.”
“We’ve shared countless laughs and memorable moments during our time working on this project. The Chelsea Flower Show is not just about creating beautiful exhibits; it’s also about enjoying the process and celebrating the achievements together. It’s been an honour to work with Emma, and I’m excited to see what we’ll accomplish in the future.”
Gavin and Emma will tell you that working at the Chelsea Flower Show requires a combination of problem-solving skills and adaptability to deliver a flawless experience. Despite the challenges faced during the construction of the Magical Hideaway, the dedication of the entire team and determination were unwavering, resulting in a finished exhibit that was full of wonder and delighted all who had the pleasure of exploring it.
“We couldn’t be happier with how the Magical Hideaway turned out,” Gavin expressed. “It truly embodies the whimsical and enchanting atmosphere we wanted to create.”
“The exhibit has surpassed our expectations, and we’re delighted to have been part of such a remarkable experience,” Emma added.
“Emma’s creativity and dedication have been instrumental in shaping the Magical Hideaway. She has brought her imaginative ideas to the table, and we’ve worked together to refine and execute them. It’s been a joy to collaborate with her, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished as a team.”
The visitors were transported to a world where imagination knows no bounds, thanks to the remarkable contributions of Emma and Gavin along with the rest of the design and construction team. Their creative vision, expertise, and relentless efforts have brought to life a truly magical experience at the Chelsea Flower Show 2023.