Mobile Orchard

inhabitable urban fruit trees

Mobile Orchard 02--Early Steel Tree Visualisations- (12a)

The Mobile Orchard is a new public installation by atmos – an inhabitable hymn to the urban fruit tree, commissioned as the centrepiece for the City of London Festival 2013.

Its exuberant design celebrates the wonder of trees, and offers a magical mutation – a welcoming structure tailored to humans.

The project seeks to create a new kind of public landscape that merges the best of man-made design and organic nature. It offers a labyrinth of complex, intriguing, generous spaces that seek to nourish all the senses – celebrating both natural trees, and the communion of cities.


It centres on a large, sculptural timber oasis that doubles as immersive summer street furniture – morphing into seating, shelter, stairway and sky-throne.

Its undulating roots offer a landscape for lounging, including sinuous benches and molten armchairs that cradle the gaze upwards through the hollow trunk.

Massive branches worm outwards from a dramatically leaning trunk to offer further seats, splaying to form steps that flow upwards to a branch-clad throne at the tip.

A lightweight latticework of aluminium unfurls from the laminated plywood grains to support a canopy of laser-cut leaves – each blade a local London borough, with the host borough further subdivided into wards – the blossom and seeds of the project.

Electric LED lighting threads through its veins, uniting base and crown, its sinuous lines like section-cuts that graphically describe the segments of its core geometry, terminating in glowing bulbs of moon-light spots.


The installation is edible – cradling a constellation of real apples, refreshed daily, that are ripe for the plucking by any member of the public.

It is accompanied by a choir of young fruit trees that, like the modular nature of the tree itself, will grow over time, awaiting a future in schools and orchards across London.

The project will host a series of events and performances, including specially-commissioned theatre and music, a Fruit-Feast dinner and an Urban Picnic of gleaned fruit and veg from the team at Feeding the 5,000.

The Orchard moves each week to a new venue in the City of London before its young live trees are distributed to schools and orchards across London, and its sculptural centrepiece donated to Trees for Cities, who will tour it across Britain for 5 years.

Come sit and climb – pick and feed – explore and wonder. Surf the Sky ; Eat the View.

"the atmos approach is clearly different... extraordinary success in public installations on the global stage... "
Blueprint Magazine, May 2013

"this summer we transform some of the most familiar spaces of the Square Mile into an extraordinary urban orchard with this spectacular new commission. Escape the hustle of every day city life and be transported into a fantastical new habitat designed and constructed especially for the modern city-dweller."
The City of London Festival

Design & Fabrication

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Devonshire Square + Paternoster Preview

On Monday the 1st July, City workers arrived to find a whole new kind of tree had sprouted at the end of their avenue.             On Saturday 23rd June we installed a small information box containing the fragments of our upcoming very large tree. Its boards show information on the […]

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Meet the Makers!

Though highly digital – in both design and fabrication – this project would not have been possible without a wealth of brilliant people. We have been blessed by a bounty of them. They have been incredible. Gods and goddesses – every one. Thank you!

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Inhabiting the Tree

We were slightly intimidated when we first start designing. We thought – “you can’t design better than trees”. Trees are just so awesome. And then we thought again. The one clear advantage we have – as non-trees – is our humanity; we can (we’d hope) design better for humans. So we’ve been exploring how to […]

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Evolution of Overall Shape

A tree operates under fairly simple rules – maximise surface area coverage of leaves; maximise spread of nutrient-seeking roots; optimise structural growth against gravity. Tree may look wild and extravagant, but they (like this project) are tightly budgeted, and conscientious of slender resources. This section gives a small overview into our hunt for our own […]

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IMAGES: Please contact Alex Haw, atmos
(a AT atmosstudio DOT com, tel +44 (0)7815 040 619)
for imagery requests, interviews and media matters

UPDATES: Check the atmos Facebook page + the atmos project page

ATMOS PROJECT WEBPAGEhttp://www.atmosstudio.com/Mobile-Orchard


Tree for Cities is the proud owner of the Mobile Orchard, “The Mobile Orchard sculpture was the centrepiece of the City of London Festival 2013”

May 2013 : Blueprint Magazine : “PROFILE: Alex Haw” by Herbert Wright – Mobile Orchard featured in 5-page profile of Atmos / Alex Haw 

May 2013 : Wired Magazine : CNC-milled fruit trees will offer seating and fresh apples to Londoners, Olivia Solon.

May 2013 : Allotinabox : Fresh Apples to Londoners – The Mobile Orchard, “Our blog has become a place to share anything that is inspirational… when we heard about a great new project from Atmos, we just had to add this.”

July 2013 : London Architecture Blog : Mobile Orchard, City of London Festival 2013, week 26 13 Feature #19.

July 2013 : Archetcetera : London Happenings: Mobile Orchard, posted by Phyllis Richardson, Author.

August 2013 : Architects Journal : How to Build a Tree: Mobile Orchard by Atmos, by Alex Haw.

September 2013 : Professional Lighting Design : Inspiration: The luminous limbs of atmos’s inhabited tree “Its exuberant design mutates the wonder of natural trees with a structure that seek to nourish all the senses.”

September 2013 : Solid+Form : The Mobile Orchard by Atmos Studio, “…a labyrinth of complex, intriguing, generous spaces that seek to nourish all the senses – celebrating both natural trees, and the communion of cities.”

October 2013 : Mondo Arc Magazine : The mobile orchard is a hymn to the urban fruit tree, featured in issue 75 October/November 2013.

Location + Schedule

View Atmos – MobileOrchard for COLF 2013 in a larger map

24th June: Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7DY
1st July: Devonshire Square, EC2M 4TH
8th July: St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8EP
15th July: New Street Square, London EC4A 3BF
22nd July: Finsbury Avenue Square, London EC2M 2PG

The City of London Festival has arranged a rich series of events to accompany the installation for the duration of the 5-weeks (programme at http://www.colf.org/whats-on), including:
Monday 24th June: Performance of “Golden Apples” – a special commission from Performing Arts Company Canopy (12, 1 & 5.45pm – also on Thursday 25th June (times TBC))
Monday 22nd JulyUrban Picnic, with gleaned produce offered by the Feedingthe5k team.

After the Festival, the core sculpture will be bequeathed to Trees for Cities, and will commence a 5-year journey across London and the wider UK.

Its accompanying army will scatter across the city – both planted in the nearby Middlesex Street Estate to create a community orchard (in liaison with the Middlesex Street Gardening Club and the City of London Open Spaces Department), and distributed to schools across the capital to create a network of fruit growing in London for years to come.