Notting Hill Gate is getting green

Published: Tuesday 2 August 2022

Notting Hill Gate is getting green as a new temporary installation featuring a series of colourful pocket gardens will be popping up in the coming months. ‘Re-green Notting Hill’ was the winning idea as part of a design competition to refresh the high street, with local business George King Architects and North Kensington-based group Grow2Know collaborating on the project.


The Council partnered with the London Festival of Architecture to run the competition as part of its efforts to find new ways to improve local high streets and working openly with the community on new initiatives. 


Cllr Josh Rendall, Lead Member for Local Economy and Employment said:
“Notting Hill is a unique area with an eclectic style and is the perfect place for a vibrant high street installation which is the first of its kind in the borough.


“We’ve been committed to working with the local community and are gathering feedback from residents to make sure that the winning design will not only look amazing but will reflect everyone who lives, works and visits the area. This is just the first step of the Council finding innovative new ways to enhance our high streets for the future.”


Following a public exhibition of the shortlisted submissions in June, engagement with local residents, and the final assessment from an independent judging panel, George King Architects and Grow2Know were selected as the winners. ‘Re-green Notting Hill’ was chosen as it has the community as its core, improves air quality on the high street, and celebrates the diverse nature of the area through different plants and materials.


The design will see a series of small, sculpted gardens decorated with colours and creative patterns inspired by Portobello Market and Notting Hill Carnival. The gardens are planned to be made entirely from upcycled industrial oil drums, inspired by the Carnival tradition of upcycling discarded oil drums to create steel pans. 


As part of the proposal, members of the community will be invited to help shape the final design, including the choice of plants and layout of the gardens. The gardens are designed to be fully adaptable to take into account residents’ ideas, with plans to feature planters, seating, and insect habitats. Information about the plants and their cultural significance to the diverse communities of Notting Hill will be included as an educational element, particularly for young people and schools.


Rosa Rogina, Director of the London Festival of Architecture, said:
“We’re proud to be working with the Kensington and Chelsea on this public realm intervention to reimagine the spaces along Notting Hill Gate. George King Architects and Grow2Know are worthy winners. A simple yet bold response to our competition brief, connecting nature, heritage and local people. I’m really looking forward to following the design development with input from local people, and to seeing it in place early next year.”

Quotes from the winning designers

George King, Director at George King Architects said:
“We are delighted that our design has been selected as the winner in this competition. We feel passionately about the important role public spaces play in our cities and the power of design to enrich people’s lives. Working closely with Grow2Know we hope to create a positive and lasting transformation for Notting Hill Gate, its local community, and many visitors.”


Tayshan Hayden-Smith from Grow2Know said:
As someone who has grown up in the local community, attending Fox Primary School, it is undeniably important that we, as a community, are able to reclaim our spaces to make a positive change for present and future generations - both environmentally and socially. Partnering with George King Architects, we hope to create access to nature with a real purpose, with community involvement throughout. 
“Massive thank you to LFA for the acknowledgement and recognition of our vision and we look forward to turning the idea into a reality.”


Danny Clarke from Grow2Know said: 
"So thrilled partnering with George King Architects and getting the opportunity to bring nature into Notting Hill through horticulture. Our collaboration will certainly bring a refreshing, unique and innovative element on how greening up public spaces can be presented. 
“We thank the LFA for ushering us in to showcase the positive effects greenery can have on the population, by permitting beautiful, immersive, well planted spaces where people can relax and contemplate. This will have a huge positive contribution for the mental wellbeing of folk who frequent the area." 


George King Architects and Grow2Know will receive funds of up to £100,000 from the Council to develop a fully costed, feasible design that will be installed in early 2023.


This project is part of a wider set of initiatives to help improve and future proof high streets in the borough. If you have any questions or thoughts on this project, or other ideas to improve Notting Hill Gate, please get in touch with the Council’s team at growthanddeliveryteam@rbkc.gov.uk.