ISSUE 43  |  Lessons from Japan

Required Reading: Decorating With Plants By Satoshi Kawamoto

November 02, 2014 11:00 AM

BY Kendra Wilson

It would be churlish to resist the playful charm of Satoshi Kawamoto, so we have fallen for him hook, line, and sinker. In his book Decorating with Plants the Tokyo-based floral stylist shows that his ethos is the opposite of Less is More. It may go against your best instincts, but his maximalist charm will have you reassessing all your surfaces, whether horizontal or vertical.

“Don’t rely on just one type of accessory to decorate your rooms,” says Satoshi. “Mix, match and combine a lot of different things to create an impact. Go on, be bold!” This is a rather understated manifesto:

Photography via Decorating with Plants.

Above: Part of the appeal of this book is Satoshi’s scrawled notes over the photographs: “The wall is decorated with pages from old books–and a real butterfly,” Satoshi doodles. “I bought the wall decorations in Paris at Astier de Villatte.” He’s mad about Astier.

The display above is on a shoe cabinet by the entrance to his house. He also has a shoe room: “It’s my private den for the man of the house,” he writes. “Indoor plants with rich green foliage help to create a smart, masculine look.” This is a recurring theme in the book, the heady combination of shoes and flowers (for men).

Above: In the living room, a homemade plant chandelier. “When the light is switched on, fascinating leaf shadows are cast all around the walls.” It is made up of pale dried plants (eucalyptus, Japanese box, clematis). Added to it are artificial succulents: “Chosen to fit in with the color scheme of the rest of the room.”

Above: Use a tool apron as a wall hanging, urges Satoshi. Leave some of the pockets empty or put in a plant pot; add dry flowers (shown here) or use succulents. Keep it masculine.

Above: Satoshi is in his element in the Party Settings section of the book. “Set the scene for a wonderful house party by selecting plants that go well with your dinnerware and other furnishings.” As well as the dining room, the front door and entrance hall need to be addressed.

“Wall decorations can be used as table ornaments!” is Satoshi’s handwritten memo and nestled in there are the ingredients of a wine and cheese party, including clusters of muscatel raisins and veined cheese. Why not lay a picture frame flat on the table and use it as a centerpiece for dried flowers, “or with tin soldiers and delicate little flowers and leaves.” Anything goes as long as it goes.

Above: Clothes for the day job, another obsession. Satoshi favors secondhand work coats: “They don’t have to be just for work,” he says. “They’re part of my spring wardrobe.”

Above: GF stands for Green Fingers. Even without this tattooed declaration, we are in little doubt of Satoshi’s passion for plants. Green Fingers is also the name of his main Tokyo store, with satellite Green Fingers in New York and outposts planned for London and Los Angeles.

Above: Decorating with Plants (£18 from Jacqui Small, October 2014) is the UK title for Deco Room with Plants ($25.61 from Amazon).