The annual Kirstenbosch Plant Fair took place in Cape Town for the 39th time (12-13 April) this year – but the latest edition had fresh appeal and a more contemporary look. This was thanks to close collaboration between the Kirstenbosch branch of the Botanical Society of SA and Scan Display, aleader in the Southern African exhibition and display industry.
Primarily a fundraiser, the Plant Fair is also a major opportunity for Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden (which celebrated its centenary last year) and the Botanical Society to reach the broader public and promote the conservation of indigenous plants.
Keeping these historical and horticultural elements firmly in mind, Scan presented design concepts intended to make the event even more appealing to the diverse stakeholders. They also had to accommodate growers (from larger commercial companies to amateur enthusiasts) invited to take part this year under their own brand names.
Participants had been housed in gazebos of different sizes, colours and formats. Scan and the Botanical Society agreed on a new basic stand structure that the users could personalise. This was achieved by using 9m² aluminium modules, topped with shade cloth, and fronted with a fascia board on which the participant’s name appeared in cut vinyl.
Between the stands, generous walkways lent a natural garden feel to the event and enabled suppliers to also site their plants outside in either shady or sunny spots where they were easily accessible to buyers.
The usual gazebo and trestle tables housing the ticket sellers were replaced with four space-saving, professional-looking small modular boxes, named the Mo5. Two were installed at the main gate, and one at the Rhodes Drive entrance, offering a more sophisticated, highly visible and secure space for the ticket sellers. These modular boxes also freed up space for stocks of compost bags at the entrance gates.
This wonderful family outing provided plenty of good food and entertainment, and careful planning went into designing the overall layout to ensure a streamlined flow of people between the sales, refreshments and entertainment locations.
The event naturally had a strong emphasis on conservation and sustainability, and this was echoed in the re-usable exhibition shells, shade netting and fascia boards. The netting will be stored at Kirstenbosch for future events. Graphics were printed on strong yet fully recyclable fabric that can be washed in industrial washing machines and re-used, and finally be left to decompose naturally.
“It was a privilege to play our part in bringing fresh design elements to such an established horticultural event,” said Cape Town-based Scan Chairman Alex Hawes. “Kirstenbosch is one of our greatest national assets and the plant sale leads to better understanding, conservation and protection of our biological resources.”