When the manned ticket office at St James’s Park station closed – its staff replaced by automated machines – it left something of a void. Transport for London, its operator, was left in a quandary – what could it do with the newly vacated space that wouldn’t result in major disruption?
Well, turn the office’s windows into miniature gardens, of course. The organisation, whose headquarters at 55 Broadway are directly above the station, commissioned The Edible Bus Stop to create “something green and engaging”. And after a year of planning, the design consultancy duly delivered.
Passengers entering the station via Palmer Street are immediately drawn to the two windows on either side of the ticket barriers. Inside both are carefully chosen plants and, less obviously, the perfect environmental conditions for them to thrive.
“It’s been immense fun trialling the plants and discovering what works and what works too well and grows too fast,” The Edible Bus said. “[It’s] a problem we’ve not encountered before.”
Both windows are illuminated and backed by mirrors, which gives the illusion that the gardens they contain go on forever. And despite their verdant appearance, the plants only have to be watered once every three weeks.
Now that they’ve been successfully installed, The Edible Bus is confident that its miniature gardens can be rolled out across further empty ticket offices on the London Underground network. There is, in fact, already talk of a Japanese-themed zen garden.
The Palmer Street entrance of St James’s Park station is open between 5am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.