Japan Horticultural Art: Plant artist turns balcony into cool garden
Updated 19:55, 19-Aug-2019
One Japanese citizen is encouraging gardening and plant purchases in Tokyo by adding the element of art. And elevating plants to the level of fancy clothes and luxury bags. Mayu Yoshida has more.
Satoshi Kawamoto calls himself a plant artist. Someone who makes art using plants. His store in Tokyo looks more like a boutique than your typical botanical shop. Here, plants, vintage clothing and household goods are all for sale.
SATOSHI KAWAMOTO PLANT ARTIST "My job as a plant artist is more like my hobby. It's not just about cutting and decorating flowers. It's about suggesting a fun lifestyle to people by adding botanicals into their life to what you already have – like furniture."
Kawamoto grew up inspired by his grandmother, who also loved gardening. Now he manages stores in Tokyo, New York and Milan.
SATOSHI KAWAMOTO PLANT ARTIST "My grandma's house was in the middle of Tokyo, but her veranda was surrounded with greenery. As a kid, I used to flood her with questions. 'what's this?' 'what's this?' But I became more indulged in plants years later in high school. I cultivated a half-dead plant and it started to grow and grow. The power of plants amazed me."
To turn a boring balcony into a cool garden, his styling tip is to keep things imbalanced because perfection is boring.
SATOSHI KAWAMOTO PLANT ARTIST "The key is to add different heights and not make it flat. If there are five flower pots, put one on a stool and maybe another pot above. You can create a new space by making it three-dimensional. It's boring if you place pots next to each other. Also, mind the color gradation. There are deep greens and silver-looking greens. Gradation will make your balcony look bright even without flowers."
MAYU YOSHIDA TOKYO "You go back and forth Tokyo and New York with plans to expand in Europe as well. Do you think demands for green are growing in such big cities?"
SATOSHI KAWAMOTO PLANT ARTIST "I definitely think so. Compared to a gardening boom a long time ago, city dwellers perceive plants as an interior accessory or an art piece.  I opened a store in New York to go back to the basics. The Japanese tend to give compliments but hide their true thoughts. So, heading to the US was inspiring because New Yorkers give both good and bad feedback. Now, I'm researching the European market."
MAYU YOSHIDA TOKYO "What is your ambition as a plant artist?"
SATOSHI KAWAMOTO PLANT ARTIST "Forever-learning is my life motto. Just like plants, us humans should also grow and evolve. I want to surprise people by creating something new."
And to do that, he's committed to travel across the world to search for new plants. So plant lovers can make their home greener.