Québécois industrial designer Robin Plante (whose name couldn’t be more apt) is the man behind Brio, a low-maintenance aquaponic ecosystem that’s both an indoor garden and aquarium. Plants feed on aquarium waste and, in turn, purify the water – just as they do in nature. “The inspiration for the visual aspect of Brio came to me ideologically,” says Plante, “creating one vase that brings the aquatic and terrestrial world together, side by side, as a symbiotic environment working together.”
Concrete planter/storage box hybrids, handcrafted by Duo Plant Studio in Saskatoon, are conjured up by designers Erin Levesque and Abby Schnaider, and then the moulds are manifested through 3-D modelling software by Schnaider’s engineer husband. “I think about what would look good and work well in a space,” says Schnaider. “I love the idea of things being multi-functional.” The stylish hexagonal containers can be placed together to make up a hive-like installation of greenery and keepsakes on a tabletop, or vertically along a wall.
These ceramic pears are many things: bud vases for a minimalist arrangement from the garden (a solitary bloom will do), a collection of mix-and-match designs for decorative display, and even pretty paperweights. Each pear has its own possibilities and patina. The monochromatic pieces, meant to mimic the weathered and salty hues of the seaside, are handmade in Quebec’s Eastern Townships by Atelier Tréma ceramicist Marie-Joël Turgeon, who specializes in pottery-wheel throwing, and her partner Jordan Lentink.
World-renowned Vancouver-based lighting designer Omer Arbel of Bocci melds form and function with the 38 series, a collection of blown-glass spheres with cavities that can hold both LED lamps and arrangements of succulents, cacti or airy tillandsia plants. With a range of lights and corresponding satellite “moons,” the resulting clusters can be sparse or constellation-like. Any iteration becomes a statement-making light installation that’s both garden and gallery suspended from the ceiling.
Jonathan Sabine, of MSDS Studio in Toronto, is a designer whose work is often a mash-up of iconic objects (like the Bourgeois Brass Knuckle corkscrew, showcased in SFMOMA’s permanent design collection). His Annex side table, available in on-trend metallic copper or nickel, is another deceptively simple yet sculptural object. Devised as a multi-use reliquary for everyday household objects, its base is the perfect pedestal for your favourite planter.
Vancouver horticultural studio ByNature’s mantra is “Enjoy. Breathe. Feel Good.” This philosophy transforms plants into living art in the home. “It’s about reconnecting people with nature in the urban landscape,” says horticultural engineer and co-founder Nicolas Rousseau. He uses organic plant materials – from preserved reindeer moss and lichen in the Mossart living frame, to ferns and vines in the Wallflower model – to create artwork that is, quite literally, alive.