John Madejski gave the V&A £2 million to create a new garden at the heart of the Museum. The John Madejski Garden opened on 5 July 2005 and is a central part of the V&A's FuturePlan.
Kim Wilkie's new design has transformed the garden. The Italianate courtyard is now a stylish, elegant place to meet and provides a central point from which to explore the museum. The main feature is a stone-paved oval, with surrounding steps and water jets, which can be filled with water as a reflecting pool or drained for displays.
Grass lawns and York stone paving surround the central oval. Glass planters contain lemon trees in summer and will contain clipped hollies in winter. The courtyard walls have been softened by plantings of blue hydrangeas as well as Salvia 'Enigma' and Dahlia 'David Howard'. The salvias will be an intense blue and the dahlias have orange flowers with dark purple/bronze foliage. There will be seasonal displays of plants such as echium, foxtails, irises, lilies and spring bulbs.
The design allows the garden to be used both as a simple courtyard garden and as a stage set for display, theatre, parties and events. The terraces on the south side are designed to accommodate cafés and bars.
At night the garden is dramatically transformed. The lighting has been specially created for the garden by Patrick Woodroffe, lighting designer for the Rolling Stones.
The designer, Kim Wilkie, is a landscape architect, urban designer and environmental planner. His practice combines the restoration of historic landscapes with radical new designs and the regeneration of cities springing from their individual character and identity. Recent projects include new designs for Hyde Park Corner, the restoration of the Villa La Pietra, Florence, for New York University and the strategic masterplan for the world heritage site at the Solovetski Archipelago, Russia.