Secret Structures at Wakehurst

April 12, 2017

We’ve recently been working with Wakehurst in West Sussex to design their new Secret Structures exhibition.

Wakehurst is home to a 16th-century mansion which is set in 500 acres of garden. The vast garden is incredibly impressive and includes a botanic garden, large woodland, wetland conservation area, the world’s largest seed conservation project in Kew Garden’s Millennium Seed Bank, and exhibition spaces.

Wakehurst’s new exhibition, Secret Structures, provides an opportunity to not only marvel at the featured plants and fungi, but also a platform to learn from them and better understand our need to protect them.

Secret Structures features an interactive table which invites visitors to peel back the layers of scanned objects including a Brazil nut and an orchid to reveal their intricate innards, and an excavated oak tree  suspended to reveal its complex and normally hidden root system. The exhibition also includes a specially commissioned light sculpture suspended from the ceiling, created by the exhibition’s Artist in Residence, Perdita Sinclair.

We developed multimedia displays for the exhibition. Each of the displays explore the unusual, secret and curious sides of the specimens on show, including Brazil nuts, walnuts, orchids and oak trees. The displays cover the incredible role oak trees play in supporting biodiversity in the UK, the complex process of propagating orchids and Kew Science’s expertise, and why you should think twice about falling asleep under a walnut tree- they cunningly secrete chemicals to poison nearby plants…

The exhibition’s star exhibit is the excavated oak tree which was featured on the acclaimed BBC4 programme, Oak Tree: Nature’s Greatest Survivor.

Secret Structures’ opening was covered on BBC South East.

It is open until March 2018, for more information see Wakehurst’s website.  

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