Brimming barrows in the City this summer

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Mobile Arboretum © Luke O'Donovan

The City of London is getting an extra injection of green this summer thanks to an innovative new art concept.

The aptly named Mobile Arboretum is a series of colourful market carts filled with sapling, each creating a new home for trees in the heart of the Square Mile’s typically concrete expanse.

The barrows will house the trees and saplings over the summer, taking care of them until it is time to move them on to their permanent homes.

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Mobile Arboretum © Luke O’Donovan

The initiative has been designed with the aim of helping to grow the legacy of ‘urban forests’ at schools and community gardens in and around the City.

The installations are inspired by the collec­tive history of London’s famed markets. Both Aldgate and Cheapside have been – and still – are hubs of activity and trade in London, from the medieval produce and poultry markets of Cheapside to the buzzing fabric markets of Petticoat Lane.

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The markets are full of brim­ming barrows and carts, overflowing with produce, delicate frames hung with drapes of fabric, and pinstriped and patterned canopies that shelter the traders and customers.

Food and fabrics mingle with entertain­ment, live music, trade and the conversation of mingling communities.

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Mobile Arboretum © Luke O’Donovan

This project plays with the idea of an urban forest, but it needed to be more than mere planters – it had to reflect the site’s history and be a part of its present.

Check out the green initiative for yourself before the barrows are repositioned at the end of August.

Until August 31 at Bow Churchyard and Middlesex Street (part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture).

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