From his Brooklyn-based studio designer Huy Bui co-created Plant-in City, a project to pair plants with sleek wood and metal to create a new kind of 21st-century terrarium. His latest venture is a new collection of stackable Plant-in MINI terrariums that also are monuments to urban living.
Photography by Huy Bui except where noted.
Each terrarium is handmade, and Bui sees his planters as both art and places to house plants. “On one hand, it is a single object or sculpture for plants,” he explains. “On the other hand, they are a single unit that fits into a large whole, which can be stacked vertically. These units are like pre-fab homes, but for plants.”
The wooden terrariums are made from cut-offs with live edges or visible bark. With an intricate, mathematical composition they interlock in the same way as Lego. Each structure has distinct architectural elements. One may feature tiny cross-bracing, another expertly cantilevered planes.
“We source only local NY State wood that has been sustainable harvested,” says Bui.
“Our steel versions, use the exact same dimensions as the wooden ones, but have different structural advantages and disadvantages and are made by a local steel fabricator,” explains Bui.
Above: One of Bui’s most popular pieces is the Air Terrarium with a black patina ($400). It features a steel frame with a wired web that holds an air plant. He thinks that it’s the clean lines of the structure juxtaposed with the obtuse angles of the web and the organic form of the plant that make it such a sought-after piece.
“There’s sophistication in simplicity,” he adds.
Bui’s interest in the micro-housing movement also inspired him to create the modular aspect of the Plant-in MINI series. “I love capsule and modular housing systems,” says Bui.
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