Wrapped in Enset Leaves, Ethiopia Cultural Inspiration through the False Banana

Anabata Media | October 4, 2022

'False Banana Pavilion' is one of five temporary installations built in the Kew Wakehurst botanical garden, West Sussex, England. Flea Folly Architects designed and constructed the interim pavilion as part of a “ Nourish “ summer event last September.

Wrapped in Enset Leaves, Ethiopia Cultural Inspiration through the False Banana Pavilion(False Banana Pavilion's overall look)

The design refers to the purpose of the pavilion, which is a reference container for plant scientists in Wakehurst. Then, Flea Folly Architects revealed that his idea originated from an interest in the Enset plant, which is widely grown in Ethiopia. The plant can adapt to extreme climatic conditions. Thus, the combination of inspiration from the Enset plant and the pavilion's original purpose can develop simultaneously.

Wrapped in Enset Leaves, Ethiopia Cultural Inspiration through the False Banana Pavilion(False Banana Pavilion built in Kew Wakehurst botanical garden)

Flea Folly Architects designed the 'False Banana Pavilion' with visuals that borrowed the shape from the traditional house of the Dorze people living in the southern part of Ethiopia. To maximize its alignment with the surrounding garden, the team of architects used natural materials and development techniques that did not deviate far from Wakehurst. Also, the manufacture of a typical Ethiopian pastiche is balanced by the structure design, which displays the results of combining the designs of the two regions.

Wrapped in Enset Leaves, Ethiopia Cultural Inspiration through the False Banana Pavilion(False Banana Pavilion was built using Wakehurst's signature natural ingredients and building techniques)

False Banana Pavilion is built using a 6-meter-high rectangular wooden frame wrapped in hazel hurdle panels and compressed water reed sheets. This base material is then coated with straw that is shaped in such a way as to create a series of attractive geometric shapes.

Wrapped in Enset Leaves, Ethiopia Cultural Inspiration through the False Banana Pavilion

Visitors will be stunned to see the indoor area’s main openings leading to the pyramid pavilion. Interestingly, the interior walls of this pavilion are covered by 900 strands of imitation Enset leaves made of birch plywood colored in a gradation from green to red. This gradation seems to reveal the biodiversity of plants.

Wrapped in Enset Leaves, Ethiopia Cultural Inspiration through the False Banana Pavilion(The interior of False Banana Pavilion is lined with leaf-shaped pieces of wood)

Completing the experience of being inside a Dorze tribal hut, Flea Folly Architects added a built-in chair against the backdrop of Enset leaves that attracts visitors to sit and see the sky through the skylight above.

Wrapped in Enset Leaves, Ethiopia Cultural Inspiration through the False Banana Pavilion(Built-in seats attract visitors to sit and see the sky through the skylight)

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