‘Miyawaki’ a planting methodology which gives forests four ‘layers’ – shrubs, sub-trees, trees and a canopy – is a Japanese concept that has a success rate for tree survival with little to no maintenance. It’s this approach that is being adopted by Louis Vuitton, property manager, investor and developer Cadogan and SUGi, the globally renowned organisation dedicated to restoring 100% native forests in urban spaces, for an 8-10-year-spanning conservation project encapsulating 240sqm in London’s Chelsea, that will rewild part of the upmarket area’s Pont Street. 

‘The forest will be a green space for local neighbours to find quiet moments of respite and to take in the joys of nature in a vibrant and busy city,’ says Elise van Middelem, founder of SUGi, of the pocket forest that will see 630 native trees including Red Campion, Sessile Oak and Hawthorn, plus 77 species of shrub planted in total. ‘Visitors can take in the changing colours of the trees, the aromas of the blossoms and the sound of rustling leaves.’

Rewilding London’s Chelsea with 630 native trees and 77 species of shrub

Render of rewilding London’s Chelsea by Cadogan, Louis Vuitton and SUGi

The planned pocket forest, which is close to Louis Vuitton’s Sloane Street street boutique and part of the Cadogan Estate, aims to increase the neighbourhood’s biodiversity and highlight an innovative way for businesses and landowners to collaborate together in an environmentally conscious way. SUGi’s pocket forests thrive on six continents, rewilding the gardens of Santiago’s Children’s Hospital in Chile, restoring the King Charlemagne Forest in Belgium and creating a bee-friendly forest in the UK’s Wiltshire. Their rewilded spot in Chelsea is intended to become self-sustaining within three years.

The urban rewilding project also aligns with Louis Vuitton and Cadogan’s sustainability-focused initiatives. Cadogan has recently launched a 10-year sustainability strategy Chelsea 2030 which maps out ambitious targets contributing to a more sustainable city, including an increase in Urban Greening Factor by 25% over the next decade. Vuitton’s ‘Our Committed Journey’ sustainable development plan is dedicated to preserving natural resources by 2025 based on a set of quantitative targets. An internal Positive Impact Committee has been created to lead projects such as this one. §