Mobile Orchard

The Mobile Orchard is a new public installation by atmos - an inhabitable hymn to the urban fruit tree, commissioned as the centrepiece for the City of London Festival. Its exuberant design celebrates the wonder of trees, and offers a magical mutation - a welcoming structure tailored to humans.

The project seeks to create a new kind of public landscape that merges the best of man-made design and organic nature. It offers a labyrinth of complex, intriguing, generous spaces that seek to nourish all the senses - celebrating both natural trees, and the communion of cities.

To see more on the design development of Mobile Orchard, click here.

It centres on a large, sculptural timber oasis that doubles as immersive summer street furniture - morphing into seating, shelter, stairway and sky-throne. Its undulating roots offer a landscape for lounging, including sinuous benches and molten armchairs that cradle the gaze upwards through the hollow trunk. Massive branches worm outwards from a dramatically leaning trunk to offer further seats, splaying to form steps that flow upwards to a branch-clad throne at the tip.

A lightweight latticework of aluminium unfurls from the laminated plywood grains to support a canopy of lasercut leaves - each blade a local London borough, with the host borough further subdivided into wards - the blossom and seeds of the project. Electric LED lighting threads through its veins, uniting base and crown, its sinuous lines like section-cuts that graphically describe the segments of its core geometry, terminating in glowing bulbs of moon-light spots.

The installation is edible - cradling a constellation of real apples, refreshed daily, that are ripe for the plucking by any member of the public. It was accompanied by a choir of young fruit trees that, like the modular nature of the tree itself, will grow over time, awaiting a future in schools and orchards across London.

The project hosted a series of events and performances, including specially-commissioned theatre and music, a Fruit-Feast dinner and an Urban Picnic of gleaned fruit and veg from the team at Feeding the 5,000. The Orchard moved each week to a new venue in the City of London before its young live trees were distributed to schools and orchards across London, and its centrepiece donated to Trees for Cities.

Mobile Orchard is now available for hire from Trees for Cities. Hiring it helps them raise money for their Edible Playgrounds programme, which teaches children the skills to grow and cook edible food. For further information, contact

The Mobile Orchard traveled to 5 venues over 5 weeks during the summer of 2013, opening on the Monday of each week and staying in place for 6 days.

24th-30th June: Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7DY
1st-6th July: Devonshire Square, EC2M 4TH
8th-14th July: St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8EP
15th-21st July: New Street Square, London EC4A 3BF
22nd-26th July: Finsbury Avenue Square, London EC2M 2PG

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Project team:

Design: atmos (Alex Haw, Jeg Dudley, Natalie Chelliah, Xiaolin Gu, Maite Parisot, Juan Carlos Bueno, Adamantia (Mando) Keki, Miriam Fernandez)
Structural Engineering: Blue Engineering (James Nevin)
Lighting Design: Arup Lighting (Arfon Davies, Dwayene Shillingford)
Lighting all sponsored by: LED Linear / Wibre / Architectural FX (Stuart Knox)
Plywood sponsored by: DHH Timber
Microsite Web Design: Eightfold (Sinead Mac Manus)
Fabrication: Nicholas Alexander (Jak Drinnan, Nicholas Runeckles, Anna Baker)
+ a ton of amazing volunteers, including:
Nicola Agresta, Malick Ainy, Hussain Ali, Samra Ali, Olga Amitousa, Eleonora Angeli, Pietro Belli, Chrysanthi Illyriana Bekta, Richard Bobs, Juan Carlos Bueno, Fernando Cano, Eunice Cardoso, Rachel Carmody, Neftali Carreira, Vera Cerbone, Natalie Chelliah, Jessica Chiu, Yvette Cox, Max Crichton, Laura Crosby, Milan Dankhara, Kate Dornan, Jeg Dudley, Elisabeth Fargues, Miriam Fernandez, Edith Fung, Kahli Gaskin, Irina Ghiuzan, Amarilnto Gkiosa, John Griffin, Xiaolin Gu, Ashik Gurung, Holly Gwazdacz, Jochem Ermboud Hamoen, Alex Haw, Raidah Hayat, Charlie Hill, Hafid Houari, Ricardo Ibusquiza, Fionnuala Jackson, Liz Kalinauckas, Monika Kanicki, Mando Keki, Mehreen Uneeb Khalid, Kulsoom Khimjee, Louise King, Maha Komber, Mina Koov, David Koroma, Mina Kouvara, Lina Laraki, Anthony Lazarus, Mike Lopez, Ellis Lui, Flora Malpas, Sofia Marin, Elissaveta Marinova, Chris Marriott, Maria Matesanz, Tina McArdle, Sarah McKendry, Ross Melbourne, Juliana Mejia, Olahut Mircea,Elham Moazami, Francesco Modica, Marjorie Mohler, David Monney, Luke Murphy, David Munoz, Gary Nash, Wendy Natera, Beth Niroomand-Rad, Amitousa Olga, Leidy Ossa, Paniz Pakshir, Nicola Pasquini, Marco Pantaleoni, Maite Parisot, Nicola Pasquini, Emma Payne,Ergys Peka, Hannah Pells, Samantha Perry, Miguello Pez Romero, Eunice Pinto, Sylvia-Sofia Plumridge, Malick Quratulain, Aarti Popat, Judith Pye, Lisa Quinn, Fatima Raza, Matza Rozz, Ali Samra, Kirstin Sands, Mattia Santi, Laura Seiver, Barbara Serraglini, Leah Shand, Max Shubber, Misbah Siddique, Beant Singh, Miguel Silva, Francasca Silvi, Ergy Speka, Iulia Ioana Stefan, Zak Stratfold, Marios Styliani, Elena Tamosiunaite, Winshen Teh, Sonia Theodosia, Ellen Thomas, Sonia Theodosiadi, Myrtle Tzortzi, Kostas Voukelatos, Hannah Wallace, Barry Walsh, Megan Wan, S Wang, Michele Williams, Feng Yang, Joanne Woffinden, Antonia Zabala, Alex Zoupa

Client: City of London Festival (Emma McGovern)
Festival Tree Sponsor: Bloomberg
Real orchard trees donated by: YouGarden (Peter McDermott) & The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers

Hosts: Broadgate Estates, Devonshire Square Management, Land Securities, 30 St Mary Axe Management Company Ltd
Logistics: Tellings Transport
Special Thanks: Sinead Mac Manus; Professor John Price (WCoF); Ed Gillespie; Olivia Sibony; Corporation of London

See project website at for more details & wider project info.
See our Facebook album for documentation of fabrication progress.

To see more on the design development of Mobile Orchard, click here.