Paddington Bear’s Green Wall Is a Lovely London Curiosity
London is having a “green wall” renaissance– at least as of this past May, when Garden Collage saw a record number of living installations during the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show. One wall, in particular, caught our attention at one of the city’s busiest transit hubs.
Paddington Station is one the most iconic train stations in England, made even more famous by a certain marmalade-loving bear. But with the changing times, Paddington Station is embracing the new and modern in the unmistakably imposing form of a 70-square-meter green wall. Standing almost seven feet tall, the verdant installation is being hailed as an important feature of London’s current “green revolution” and its unveiling coincided with the 2014 release of Paddington, a film based on the Paddington Bear books, which saw a spike in visitors to the area. Beyond their aesthetic value, the wall’s plants improve air quality by trapping pollutants; the wall’s strategic design also captures rainwater both to support a self-sufficient watering system and to prevent flooding. (Flooding is a constant threat in rainy London, with one in four properties at risk of damage.)
Installed by the ecologically-minded TreeBox company, the Paddington Station’s green wall came about in the wake of a comprehensive green infrastructure audit by PaddingtonNow, the business improvement district around Paddington Station, made possible by a grant from the Mayor of London.
“We are committed to improving Paddington for visitors and have already made great headway with the restoration of Sussex Gardens and decorative greenery across the district. The new installation will be a stunning feature with the added benefit of long-term environmental sustainability for the area,” Mark Roth, Chairman of PaddingtonNow, said of the wall’s announcement. Today, the green wall exists as a symbol of innovation at one of the oldest transit hubs in the city. Here, the past and the present collide.