Interactive trail explores Hackney’s history with plants and fashion

St John at Hackney artist impression of installation

St John at Hackney artist impression of installation - Credit: Archant

An evening of exhibitions to celebrate Hackney’s rich past in fashion and horticulturalism is set to dazzle audiences this weekend.

Starting tonight (September 12), Electric Bloom will feature permanent and temporary light installations and an immersive app-led trail, set against an original music score performed by emerging local musicians.

The event, supported by the council and creative studio, SDNA, is free and the trail will take place at night using a downloadable app, available now, which will take attendees on a voyage of discovery through installed artworks dotted around historic landmarks, such as St Johns and St Augustine’s Tower.

This will be accompanied by audio stories told by local residents that reflect Hackney’s past with memories of the locations and thoughts on the borough today.

Artists from SDNA have designed the series of temporary lighting installations that will illuminate Hackney Central as part of the trail, while two permanent lighting displays will feature tropical plants and an animation, projected on Churchwell Path and Morning Lane.

The project is a collaboration between residents and artists who came together to spend six months exploring the borough’s relationship with botanics and textiles through the ages.

Unbeknown to many, Hackney has a long history of driving innovation in both sectors, leaving an international legacy.

Most Read

In the 18th century the Loddiges family built the largest hothouse in the world, creating a tropical rainforest in the heart of Hackney.

The green-fingered pioneers were responsible for bringing sights from destinations people could only dream of, introducing exotic species to this country for the first time including orchids, rhododendron, rhubarb and hummingbirds.

Hackney’s textile roots are just as expansive; by 1900 it was home to hundreds of factories and workshops and employing over 15,000 people.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Electric Bloom will immerse everyone who comes to Hackney Central in a visual and audio spectacular realised by the community working with local artists; the whole experience inspired by the borough’s rich textile and horticultural history.

The event begins at 5.30pm with the bell ringers at St John’s at Hackney Church. St Augustine’s Tower will be open at the same time.

An exhibition displaying pieces from the Electric Bloom workshops is also now open at Sutton House. For more information on Electric Bloom, visit