A newly built hotel, opened in 2011, the London Syon Park Waldorf Astoria hotel is set in 200 acres of historic parkland. The brief was to reinterpret two areas of the immediate surrounding landscape around six long concrete pools that were originally designed as part of a larger overview of the hotel site.
The Earth and Sky Gardens are a fusion of elements from the park landscape beyond, the architecture of the building and the blend of glamour and design from inside the hotel. The water is dyed black, giving a mirror like surface, reflecting the sky, the coping on the pools are clad in copper, adding depth of colour and indulgence, and the evolving patination through browns, blacks and eventually green add interest and a sense of permanence and age, contrasting with the youth of emerging flowers.
Butterflies, an important part of the rich history of Syon House and Park, through their life cycle and metamorphosis represent the transference between earth and sky. Choosing nectar rich plants with extended flowering seasons, early flowering bulbs and grasses provides food and habitats for adult butterflies and their caterpillars.
Dark hardwood decks are used to create new areas above the access hatches for the pool pumps. One deck extends across to the neighbouring pool, and provides nearly 60m2 of entertainment space. The area is screened by a huge swath of tall grasses that cuts through all the beds in a curve, creating controlled views across the area. Naturalistic plants planted in a structured framework, blend the natural and the designed. Careful consideration has been given to ensure that the plant choices not only look amazing, but provide extended seasons of interest, are drought tolerant once established, are relatively low in maintenance. The gardens have been designed to ensure that they look great from overlooking guest rooms and balconies.