Our ‘Pantry Garden’ is designed as a garden room – a productive and recreational resource which is an extension of the home rather than a separated external space.
For the purposes of the competition, we were limited to a 5x7m footprint area, and we chose as our nominal client a family with young children. The typical elements of a compact city garden comprise a lawn and a shed which are enclosed by boundary walls to screen it from neighbours – we decided to work with this as our blank canvas.
Our original backgrounds are in furniture-making and horticulture, and we worked closely to craft a design which used the size limitation to create opportunity and delight. We took as our point of departure for the design of the Pantry Garden a Mondrian painting of the de Stijl movement, where landscape is abstracted into a series of coloured panels and structured by thick black lines.
The Shed was designed as a carefully considered and detailed piece of furniture, constructed of aromatic western red cedar. From the house, the doors and roof of the Shed appear like the panels in the touchstone Mondrian painting, constructed of cedar slats and coloured Perspex panels, and lit from within like a lamp. The doors hinge wide open to reveal a garden room, and their colours are cast by the sun to illuminate the walls of the garden as the day ages. The interior of the doors are detailed with cedar shelves to grow leafy salads and aromatic herbs.
We upcycled a velvet-upholstered armchair, a wooden dresser and table, and a copper water tank as the furnishings within the Shed, to make it a restful and welcoming place, red bricks to pave the garden were salvaged from the Grafton Street redevelopment. We constructed Grow Pods of stained larch, detailed with bright yellow accents, to enliven the open space. Fruit trees, a living wall of herbs and cedar planter boxes detailed at different heights provide food for the family.