Trailfinders Australian Garden – Chelsea Flower Show 2011

Trailfinders Australian Garden – Chelsea Flower Show 2011

Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Flemings Nurseries was a temporary structure custom built by MakMax for the 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London. Designed by Architect, Ian Barker, and engineered and fabricated by MakMax Australia, the unique shape and innovative use of both PVC and Lycra proved to be the basis for its success.

The Brief

Flemings Nurseries exhibits annually at one of the world most prestigious landscape garden concept events, often winning awards for their unique exhibition stands. The brief was to develop a unique fabric structure to complement their landscape vision.

The architect’s inspiration included themes of colonisation and discovery. Natural shapes and light play a large part in the design brief. We were engaged to bring the architect’s vision to life through innovate fabric architecture.

The Concept

Translating the initial concept of the architect into a real structure was aided by MaxMak’s internal design and engineering team.  Elements of technical details of manufacture were not conceptualized until our engineers began looking at the design from a practical point of view. Being a self-supporting structure we had a fair amount of control over the manufacture and fixing details of the project.

One major oversight in the original design was the absence of natural light on the inner space of the dome-like structure. Engineers and project managers suggested ports in the outer skin that would allow natural light to filter through. These ports were reinforced so as not to hinder the streams of light.

Three visits by the architect to our fabrication facility in Brisbane, and 2 prototypes later, we had a structure that embodied the architect’s vision and was structurally sound.

The Materials

MakMax supplied all element of this structure from the steel-work, fixings, fabric manufacture. We also trained a special install team who would put install the structure, half-way round the world London in time for the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show.

The Result

Visitors to the Flemings Nurseries stand at the Chelsea Flower Show were able to look past a crisp white sail (as if pulled taught under wind) out toward lush green trees. Tall enough to walk through but low in points, the structure drawn the visitor in. Stepping under and around the smooth white edges of the structure evoke a feeling of stepping through a canvas tent on a beach as explorers may have done.

The project was a success from all party’s point of view. Precise engineering and manufacture brought this project to life. Attention to detail and the perfect simplicity in design elevated this project from being just another exhibition stand.

Project Details

Location: London, UK

Completion Date: 2011

Size: 90 sqm

Fabric: PVC Outer Membrane, Lycra Inner Wall

Client: Flemings Nurseries