Like most Dunediners, we were so excited when Hendersons opened the doors of its new home on Barclay Street. But there were two main reasons: firstly, because it’s an iconic Edinburgh veggie institution, and has been for over 60 years. Secondly, because we had the pleasure of creating not one, not two, but three dried flower installations to feature permanently in the space!
When Four by Two, the design agency working on the interior design and fit out of the project, approached us it was a big fat yes from across the board. It was a pleasure to work with Chris, the lead project manager, and Barrie, the owner of Hendersons: we loved the idea of a dried flower installation within the restaurant, as it fit so perfectly with the ethos of natural, home-grown and organic, in a way that was cosy, but still aesthetically pleasing.
Three days, four Gloam members, and at least 230 bundles of (natural, preserved, not faux) dried flowers later – et voila! Here’s the finished results…
Dried flower installation #1 – Welcome display
As this dried flower installation is right in the entrance, it needs to be impactful but still have a light and airy feel. We also loved the idea of using branches almost like arrows showing people to the different areas in the space, subliminally indicating to visitors that there was more to discover.
The existing staircase had a beautiful timber structure around it already, and we wanted to work with that rather than against it. To do this, we suspended the branches to look as if they were growing from the timber structure, and interacting with the soft pendant lights. The result was a more sculptural composition that gave guests a taste of what was to come when they turned the corner. Shout out to the team for managing the perfect balancing act, in what was effectively a beautiful building site!
Dried flower installation #2 – Main dining space
The idea for the main dining space was to create a wild meadow/wheat field kind of vibe…but upside down.
We worked with Chris on installing some wooden grids that would provide the frame for this dried flower installation. Though they are structural, they also serve an aesthetic purpose: the wood acts as a thematic continuation of the frame over the stairs, as well as helps to make the display feel framed, contained and purposeful. Practically, it also helps with the longevity of the display, removing the need to permanently change the interior with holes and fixings. In this way, if needed in the future the display could easily adapt and change…organically. (See what we did there?)
With the frames good to go, it was time to get the foliage in. We spent a couple of full days huddled in the floristry studio stripping, preparing and bundling the foliage for the main dried flower installation. Then – in a scene we can only imagine was reminiscent of a modern day Michelangelo working on a ceiling – we cracked on with the installation, with Jean atop the scaffold and Ange passing bundles from the ground.
We utilised different wheat, oats, broom and grasses, installing them so that they undulated and flowed in rolling waves, with the soft pendant lights dropping through at points. If it weren’t for the lights staying still, you might even think that the wind was rippling through the foliage when you’re beneath it, such is the undulation.
Of course, this delectable dried canopy only covers one part of the room: the ceiling. To draw the whole room together we also created a dried flower installation for the banquette area. This had a similar feel to the canopy, but the right way up this time! In addition to the foliage, we also added dried thistles and flowers. This provided an extra pop of colour to catch the eye of customers as they sat, as well as adding to the natural and wild feel of the space.
Dried flower installation #3 – Snug dining area
The third and final dried flower installation we had the pleasure of creating for Hendersons was for the snug dining area.
In contrast to the arid, neutral tones of the other two installations, we created this one in a palette of deep, dark greens which beautifully complimented the mural on the wall. We decided to enhance the cosiness of the snug area with a secret garden feel, with trailing green foliage taking over the statement circular light feature. This was inspired by a previous site visit, where we’d seen the venue’s garden covered with ivy through a window. We wanted to bring this outside feeling in, as it was where Barrie planned to grow produce for the restaurant.
We had a total blast working with Hendersons and Four by Two on these large-scale dried flower installations – every time we drive past, we smile. A couple of months ago, we even popped in and saw a beautiful wedding party on the banquettes – clearly meant to be!
Events styling and design
If you’re looking for a dried flower installation for your restaurant, store or pop-up – or perhaps you’d like to discuss a different idea for some jaw-dropping visual merchandising – then we’d love to hear from you. Alternatively, if you’re looking for the best vegan and veggie scran in Scotland, then head on down to Hendersons on Barclay Street (and blow the foliage a kiss from us!)
Some lovely feedback from Clara, restaurant manager at Hendersons:
We are so grateful to have had Gloam involved in the delivery of our design vision for the restaurant. It was really important to us to use natural materials and stay away from plastics for the interior of our restaurant. We had a vision of dried flowers and herbs in the restaurant that echo our own living space which has a lot of dried flowers and herbs from our garden and we could not have asked for a better interpretation from Gloam. The team worked very hard, with big smiles on their faces to help us transform the restaurant and it was a real joy to work together. The dried flowers, grains and grasses on our ceiling are a big part of what makes the atmosphere in our restaurant so special.