Only a short stroll from the renewed bustle of Regent Street is the beacon of calm that is the Hermés store and its new garden terrace, set to soothe weary shoppers.
Open until 1 August, and free to visit, this peaceful sanctuary was created by landscape and garden designer Sarah Price (winner of two gold medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show), who took the theme ‘Hermès, A Human Odyssey’ as the starting point for a planting scheme that brings to mind the classic beauty of the Greek islands, as well as the garrigues of southern France, fynbos of South Africa and woodlands that flourish in the Mediterranean.
Her careful selection of fragrant beds of lavender, herbs, flowers, including an elegant wisteria, and newly planted trees looks especially beautiful against the backdrop of the former Time and Life Building. Built in the 1950s by Michael Rosenauer, with interiors by Sir Hugh Casson, director of architecture at the Festival of Britain, the brutalist landmark became home to the UK’s flagship Hermés store in 2015.
Its iconic combination of stark concrete lines and notable artworks and sculptures is the perfect background for Price’s contemplative space. At the centre of the Afghani fig trees, acid green Euphorbias and white and pink Cistus blooms sits Henry Moore’s Draped Reclining Figure. The sculpture has sat in this spot since this listed building’s inception, but never has it enjoyed such fitting surroundings.
If you want to take a quiet moment to enjoy the garden (as well as the store itself, which is packed with delights), you only have one month to make the trip. At the end of that time, this central London oasis will disappear. All of the plants and materials used in its creation will be packed up and donated to The Exchange – a community-run organisation that uses the Old Library in Erith, south-east London as a hub for workshops and local projects.