Nature, art, technology and fine dining combine to bring festive cheer for Fauna & Flora International

A shimmering Christmas installation comprising thousands of 3D-printed leaves has been unveiled at contemporary British restaurant aqua shard, with proceeds from this year’s festive activities set to benefit Fauna & Flora International (FFI).

Instead of the traditional fir tree, this year aqua shard has opted for a unique suspended artwork with a strong conservation message.

Entitled Human Nature and positioned in aqua shard’s three-storey atrium with a backdrop of stunning views across the London skyline, the 9 metre installation is made up of leaf skeletons from five deciduous tree species and creates the illusion of a diverse woodland glade. Each leaf was 3D-printed using recycled plastic waste – an allusion to the mountains of trash damaging many of our planet’s natural ecosystems.

Human Nature. Credit: Timothy Hatton Architects.

Human Nature. Credit: Timothy Hatton Architects.

The installation was designed by Timothy Hatton Architects in collaboration with FFI’s vice-president Sir David Attenborough, and reflects the diversity, beauty and fragility of the natural world.

The leaves were printed by tech start-up ObjectForm using recycled plastic from household items such as refrigerator linings to promote “the idea of re-using waste products to reduce consumption whilst simultaneously questioning our perception of the natural and the artificial,” as Timothy Hatton explained.

The beautiful leaves are available to buy online as a keepsake or decoration, but anyone purchasing before 5 January 2017 will also be entered into a free prize draw* to win one of 90 special edition pieces, which will consist of a single, delicate leaf beautifully presented in a gift box together with a letter that has been signed personally by Sir David Attenborough.

Proceeds from the leaf sales will support FFI’s conservation work around the world.

A peaceful scene: the leaves of the Human Nature installation waft gently.

Sir David, who has been a vice-president of FFI for 37 years and a member for almost six decades, has been involved with the project from the outset. He said, “As species and ecosystems are lost, so the rich tapestry of life unravels before our very eyes. Timothy Hatton’s installation at aqua shard captures wonderfully the fragility of nature, the beauty found in its diversity and the need to reflect upon the impacts of our own behaviour and of our ‘throwaway’ society – particularly at this time of year.

“We owe so much to nature. From the food we eat and the clothes we wear to the homes we live in and even the technology we enjoy – everything depends in some way on our natural world. But our relationship with nature is not just based on material things – it is deep and profound, offering us peace and comfort even in our most difficult moments. Alas, all of this is under threat”.

Christmas dessert. Credit: Tim Winter.

Christmas dessert. Credit: Tim Winter.

Aqua shard has also developed a special dessert and cocktail, to be sold throughout November and December, with 50% of the proceeds going to FFI. The dessert of apple compote, chocolate twigs and soil, almond crumble and honey ice cream takes inspiration from FFI’s work in the fruit and nut forests of Central Asia and an exclusive cocktail is reminiscent of a festive mulled wine.

Additionally, restaurant guests will have the option of donating £1 from every bill to FFI between 1 November and 5 January.

Find out more by visiting, or buy a leaf today.

* No purchase is necessary to enter the draw. If you do not wish to purchase a leaf but would still like to be in with a chance of winning, please email [email protected] with your name and contact details stating ‘Leaf draw’. 

Main image credit: Timothy Hatton Architects.