Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Burberry’s Biodiversity Pledge Brings 5,000 Plants to a Floating Meadow for the Queen


Burberry and the Royal Family are bringing biodiversity to London for the summer through a floral installment launching for Jubilee Day.

Ahead of Jubilee Day, when Queen Elizabeth will celebrate 70 years on the throne, British luxury brand Burberry—an official partner of the event—unveiled a zero-waste floating meadow on the Thames across from the Tower of London, celebrating not just the Queen, but the region’s biodiversity, too.

The meadow was developed as part of the Superbloom display installation at the Tower of London and contains more than 5,000 plants and 1.4 tons of recycled plastic recovered from U.K. rivers. The plants are all commonly found along England’s rivers. 

According to Burberry, one of the goals of the installation is to promote the important roles of grasslands and marshes in fighting climate change. Like other plants, they sequester carbon. They also provide a food source for important pollinators common in the region. 

The meadow is accompanied by an art wall, designed by digital artist Jon Emmony and displayed at the entrance of the sister installation “Superbloom” at the Tower of London. The display showcases a “utopian vision inspired by the power of Superbloom and the dynamism of animals and pollinators of British woodlands”.

Biodiversity at Burberry

The move builds on Burberry’s biodiversity pledge. Last year, it completed a biodiversity baseline assessment as part of a partnership with The Biodiversity Consultancy. It also announced it was exploring a materials shift to reduce its dependence on animal-based materials. Earlier this month it announced a ban on exotic skins.

Burberry was also the first luxury brand to join the LEAF Coalition (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance)—part of a $1 billion initiative aimed at protecting tropical and sub-tropical forests and reducing deforestation. 


The Tower of London’s floral-themed “Superbloom” installation features more than 20 million wildflower seeds planted in the historic palace’s moat, including Gypsophila elegans, Papaver rhoeas hybrids, Cosmos bipinnatus, and two varieties of chrysanthemums. The event marks the first time the moat has been opened to the general public since it was drained and turned into a lawn in 1845. 

“Upon arrival in the moat—either by slide or on foot—visitors will discover a transformed landscape. Paths, walkways and viewing points have been installed throughout, offering a new perspective on the Tower’s ancient walls,” Historic Royal Palaces said in a statement.


The plan was announced last November. “We hope that this thriving new landscape, surrounding London’s formidable fortress, will celebrate the power of nature to unite us all.,” Tom O’Leary, Public Engagement Director, Historic Royal Palaces, said at the time. 

“The prospect of transforming the Tower of London moat from barren amenity grassland into a spectacle of nature was irresistible and we look forward to seeing this historic evolution unfold over the coming months,” Andrew Grant, Director, Grant Associates, said. “We anticipate this bold intervention will be a catalyst for many other transformational projects across the country, bringing colour and life to renew our urban neighbourhoods.”

“We wanted it to have a celebratory feel and we also wanted to bring people down into the moat which is not something that we’ve ever done before,” Rhiannon Goddard, Project Director of the superbloom, told Town & Country. “We wanted people to feel immersed in the flowers and really feel that they are stepping out of the city and into nature and getting close to nature.” 


The flowers, which have not yet fully bloomed due to drier than usual weather, are accompanied by a soundscape entitled “Music for Growing Flowers,” composed by Scottish composer Erland Cooper.

“I’ve tried to help tell the story of the 20 million seeds that have been planed in this castle—a place designed originally to keep people out is now welcoming people in,” Erland told Town & Country. “It’s the simplest feather of a thing,” he said of the melody. “It’s just a little melody that’s passed around perhaps like a pollinator—a bird or a butterfly —between the instruments.”

Nigel Dunnett, Professor of Planting Design and Urban Horticulture, University of Sheffield, said the hope is that the effect of being surrounded by a sea of “colourful, sparkling and vibrant flowers” will release feelings of “pure liberated joy” in visitors to the Superbloom, “it will be such a powerful, emotional and celebratory experience,” he said. “We’ve undertaken a lot of testing and trials to ensure that we deliver dramatic and beautiful impressionistic blends of colours, a long and continuous sequence of flowering, and a wonderful place for pollinating insects.”

The Superbloom installation is on display from June 1 through September 18.


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