Craft In Focus at RHS Wisley Gardens
RHS Wisley Gardens, near Woking, Surrey, is the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship property, where it showcases its expertise in rich borders, rose gardens and a state-of-the-art glasshouse.
Every November, the venue hosts a winter craft fair organised by Craft in Focus. Taking place over six days, the event attracts a huge crowd of visitors who come from miles around to buy handmade and original pieces of work.
The craft fair takes place inside three large marquees, linked by covered walkways and erected in Wisley Gardens’ tarmac coach park, close to the main entrance.
The organisers requested a mix of hard-sided and soft-sided marquees with flooring fitted with a heating system that would ensure an even temperature throughout the marquee.
Three Pavilion structures totalling 1,800sqm are used to house the retailers, a small café and live music acts. A further two hard-sided structures, measuring 50sqm and 100sqm act as walkways to link everything together.
A cassette flooring system was fitted throughout and equipped with a ducted heating system to ensure an even distribution of heat.
Wisley Gardens’ coach park is built on a one-in-20 slope and, in order to ensure that the floor inside the marquees was level, wooden blocks were packed underneath the flooring to raise it at one end.
In addition to the gradient, the irregular shape of the parking bays meant that the connecting link structure needed to be raised over the kerb stones, something that the flooring system is able to do with ease.
While the public entered the building from the shallow end, traders made use of a ramp erected to allow them to access the marquee from the raised end.
The only other challenge originated from the car park’s limited size. The marquees only just fitted onto the site, so the team had to be mindful of the plant beds that surrounded the car park while erecting and dismantling them.
The show attracted thousands of people each day and traders and the public alike later took to social media to say how much they enjoyed their time there. The organisers were very pleased with the outcome and how well the structures had been received. There had also been plenty of comments about how warm they were inside too.