Often people tend to fall in to the trap of following generic themes when starting a new retail project. I suppose money ends up ruling the mind, which in turns leads the owners in a direction that so many others have already pursued. I always think the visionaries with dedication and passion for a particular subject create much more original and exciting work. This is one of the main reasons why I latched on to this project titled Loose Leaf in Melbourne, founded by partners Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler.
Wona’s Korean roots helped her develop this nursery-cum-studio, alongside her extensive qualifications in Japanese Ikebana, its Korean equivalent, Kokozi, as well as picking up a Masters in German floristry. Wona is a talented artist and craftsman that does all of the arranging herself, also making baskets and other sculptural vessels out of natural material for the plants to sit inside. Her main goal is to create compelling sculptures that have a characterful but simple aesthetic.
It’s a strange phenomena, but I found my attraction to plants is most obvious when researching architectural environments in which humans revolve around. It becomes quite apparent that the best designers use greenery in unique ways to bring the outside in, blurring the lines between these two areas creates comfortable living. Whilst in LA I saw this first hand and it inspired me a lot, particularly the Neutra VDL Research House which was constructed around a central courtyard. Everything is a direct offshoot of that, and Neutra placed emphasis on integrating foliage inside and outside to create unison with the surrounding environment.
I’ll be the first to admit that there’s not much to view online in regards to the project, but Loose Leaf is appealing in the sense that it’s targeted towards a contemporary setting. Wona and Charlie are showing a new generation how to work with plants and how to revolve around them. I hope in the future they will create a little space online where others can explore and be a part of their world, for now you can enjoy some of the photos below pulled from these fantastic articles by Makers of Melbourne, The Design Files and The Planthunter, you can also follow them on Instragram. Enjoy!