Nature: we live, breathe, eat and embrace it. Landscape designers Paloma Teppa and Yair Marcoschamer build it: installations, workspaces, artwork.
As the husband and wife duo behind the leading biophilic design firm Plant the Future, they fuse design, art, and architecture with nature to create living art installations and what are called interiorscapes, applying principles from landscaping to the interiors of buildings and homes, from building living walls with irrigation systems to constructing sculptures covered with moss.
Paloma Teppa & Yair MarcoschamerMute/unmute
Plant the Future was born out of Teppa and Marcoschamer’s love of nature, and each other. After hearing a tip in 2008 that the Wynwood area in Miami was about to experience a real estate boom, they decided to open a gallery that only sold living art. “Objects don’t have souls. When we design with biophilia, we bring a living creature inside of a home,” Teppa explains of the science of integrating plants into the context of daily life in order to restore humanity into a state of balance and equilibrium.
“The science of integrating plants into the context of daily life helps to restore humanity into a state of balance and equilibrium.” tweet
What began as an experimental art gallery integrating living plants into art objects evolved into Plant the Future becoming one of the pioneers of the “outside-in” movement bringing green into urban environments. Today, Plant the Future designs nature-inspired projects around the world, from hotels and offices to private residences and large commercial buildings. In 2017, they added a 2,000 square-foot warehouse.
They share a strong belief that nature can have a profound therapeutic impact upon our physical, emotional and spiritual health, and frequently consult the world’s leading architects and developers on how to bring nature inside. Yet truth be told, they knew nothing about the art or science behind their work when they started in 2008; biophilia was still a new concept to validate what they knew intrinsically.
Marcoschamer is the Yin to Teppa’s Yang, a visionary serial entrepreneur whose previous eco-business supported hundreds of artisans creating one-of-a-kind items. An eco-entrepreneur, Marcoschamer’s first company, Ecoist, pioneered using recycled materials in handmade goods, employing hundreds of artisans in Latin America. With the title Chief Gardening Officer, he learned how to create irrigation systems, grow plants, work with designers and architects, and figure out the complex logistics to manifest Teppa’s creative vision.
“In this very stressful, highly technological world we live in, to be able to disconnect at times and simply go out and be with nature is essential.”
Whereas Teppa speaks of a nurturing connection with nature, Marcoschamer experiences something more philosophical and methodical. He moved to New York City after college and, like Teppa, became trapped by the notion of office life. “I didn’t understand why I wasn’t able to get out of it. I realized I had this disconnect from nature. I had to escape.” As a place of refuge, he looked to Central Park. Listening to his need for green led him to Teppa, which led to them moving to Miami and launching Plant the Future.
The couple’s big break came when they were contacted by One Hotels, an eco-hospitality brand conceived by Barry Sternlicht, founder of Starwood Hotels. Marcoschamer had been following One Hotels since his days running Ecoist, and now came the opportunity to create a massive development with 400 rooms and 155 luxury residences. “They were developing the brand as well, so there was a lot of experimentation with the project.”
Teppa and Marcoschamer brought in artists and designers to create something revolutionary within the hotel world, garnering influence and press, on biophilia and the proliferating trend of nature in hospitality. Since then, Plant the Future has continued to grow exponentially, with design and interiorscape projects being built all over the world. “When my daughter was born, we didn’t have insurance,” Teppa says. “Today we pay the insurance of 25 employees.” Yet she doesn’t take credit for herself. “I feel like all of our success is Mother Nature giving back to us for how much we give her.”
“In today’s contemporary environment, people are increasingly isolated from the beneficial experience of natural systems and processes.”
Today, the couple is literally planting the future: following their deep connection to nature to plant the seeds for a healthier world, and championing a vision for a more symbiotic relationship between humanity and our environment. And for the first time, their impact has grown outside of Miami. In New York City, Plant the Future is bringing elements of nature into the modern workspace, designing live vertical gardens, hanging plant arrangements, and rooftops to help city dwellers connect with nature and feel more energized. They also produced the famous moss mural on the ground floor of The Assemblage NoMad.
“By mimicking these natural environments, we can create workspaces that are imbued with positive emotional experiences”
“In today’s contemporary environment, people are increasingly isolated from the beneficial experience of natural systems and processes,” Marcoschamer explains.“Yet it is often natural settings that people find particularly appealing and aesthetically pleasing. By mimicking these natural environments, we can create workspaces that are imbued with positive emotional experiences.” We become so attached to our individual roles and companies that we sometimes forget how we are all inherently interconnected. Nature in this way helps us remember who we are.
Always bringing the conversation back to nature, they share words of advice to like-minded entrepreneurs who want to follow their hearts. “We were very individual before,” Teppa says. “As a forest gives nutrients to grow and be part of this strong forest that gives animals lots of life, so we should have a better community with better relationships of trust.” Marcoschamer adds, “Is this something you want to grow organically like plants grow over time? Or will you fertilize the plants and put money into the company?”
We become so attached to our individual roles and companies that we sometimes forget how we are all inherently interconnected.
Whatever your individual journey, Marchoschamer believes in starting with a solid foundation. “There is nothing like that feeling of stability to select your own path.”