Dubai Majlis Garden at Chelsea

The Dubai Majlis Garden, designed by Thomas Hoblyn, will feature in the Show Garden category at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, sponsored by Visit Dubai. Inspired by the sculptural beauty found in arid landscapes, the garden takes its inspiration from the majlis concept, cherished in Dubai and across the Middle East.

Majlis means ‘place of sitting‘ in Arabic and refers to special gatherings where people of all ages, social backgrounds, diverse cultures and nationalities can come together to discuss with an open mind. The majlis essentially puts people in an exceptional position to learn and grow, and carries a wider significance of the importance of oral tradition.

Tom (pictured left) is very excited by the idea of majlis and demonstrates the concept with a beautifully sculpted majlis in wood and an open seating area with a fire pit – celebrating the values of unity, collaboration and togetherness, which are essential to the co-existence of Dubai’s diverse culture, as the Emirate pushes forwards on its ground-breaking visions for the future.

The garden is designed to attract the young and all boundary-pushing people regardless of age, culture and social backgrounds, providing a calm and contemplative space to meet. The garden provides a space within the grounds of an institution or college, or perhaps an internet or smartphone company, wherever young and forward-thinking people naturally come together.

Thomas has created the space so that people are free to use it however they want, so there is no proper seating, fixed routes or regimentation. He has also created the ultimate message to the cross-generational, cultural and social majlis users, who are surrounded by natural elements in The Dubai Majlis Garden – look to Mother Nature for the answer.

Tom is a Suffolk based designer and the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show will be his sixth appearance at Chelsea. He will use materials evoking a Middle Eastern feel such as white limestone and contrasting burnt Sienna gravel.

Talking about the garden, Tom explains: “It’s almost an antidote to the overuse of social media and modern technology. In a diverse universe, where everyone regardless of age and social background strives to make meaningful connections, The Dubai Majlis Garden provides a calm, contemplative space to meet, learn about different cultures and traditions and discuss future collaborations that will change the world.”

The garden is sponsored by Visit Dubai –

All photographs ©Thomas Holbyn Garden Design