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Creating a Gold medal garden at Chelsea Flower Show

‘A Garden Sanctuary by Hamptons’, which used IRO cladding and decking, claimed a gold medal at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It was a project born out of partnerships, with Koto Design and IRO Timber’s relationship spanning several years. The sanctuary was put together using IRO Timber products after co-founder Zoe Little and her team collaborated with award-winning garden designer Tony Woods to create a small, beautiful and multi-functional cabin space.

The brief

Working with Woods, and sponsored by estate agent Hamptons, Koto wanted to create a place to meditate, combining a contemplative room, an immersive space to connect with nature, and ultimately, a garden sanctuary. ‘A Sanctuary by Hamptons’ came about with a traditional garden plot being transformed into a serene, tranquil setting through Koto’s carbon neutral garden cabin, centred around a ‘mindfully working from home’ theme.

The project embraced the beauty of relaxation in response to an increased desire for more space – especially garden space.

“We had been following each other’s Instagram accounts for some time before Tony’s team were commissioned to design a show garden for the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show,” explained Zoe.

“Tony approached us in Spring of last year to collaborate on the project; we were absolutely delighted to be involved! Our shared passion for design and high-quality workmanship complements our individual skill sets very well, which made the partnership a natural fit.”

Design – Koto Cabins @koto_cabins

The product

Pulling on the IRO Timber team’s expertise, Koto made use of charred IRO cladding and decking, with the quality of a stunning charcoal finish elevating the space and demonstrating a high level of craftsmanship throughout the structure.

Zoe added: “We’ve been working with IRO Timber for a few years on quite a few projects and have always found the team to be knowledgeable and helpful. We originally chose the charred IRO cladding and decking exterior as it draws from Japanese design influence and the ancient Japanese philosophy Yakisugi, the age-old method of enhancing timber with heat, yet it is manufactured in the UK.”

Design – Koto Cabins @koto_cabins

The impact

Crafted from IRO Timber, the structure is completely natural, with the cabin topped with external decorative cladding. A rich interior colour palette was chosen to enhance the architectural space as the Japanese-inspired timber, which draws from ancient philosophy Wabi Sabi, built a focus on accepting the transient nature of life.

The result is an elegant and functional sculptural geometric form with open and bright glazing, which frames the immersive views the garden bestows. It wasn’t just the visitors to the Chelsea Flower Show, but also the judges, who recognised the bold project with a Gold award in the Chelsea Sanctuary Garden 2022 category.

Zoe added; “We are thrilled that ‘A Garden Sanctuary by Hamptons’ achieved a prestigious gold medal win at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show! It was incredible to see our collaborative work received so well by so many at an internationally significant show.

“Visitors shared lots of positive feedback and commented on how unique and inspiring they found our design and concept. We loved meeting more of our Koto community at the show!”

James Brennan, Group Marketing Manager at BSW Group, said: “It’s excellent seeing IRO being used on such a large scale. The product is still relatively new, and it was a fantastic opportunity for IRO to collaborate with Koto and work alongside The Garden Club London. We’re proud of the product and how much we have accomplished in such a short time.”


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