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When Frederick Law Olmstead developed his vision for Central Park in 1857, he was inspired by the picturesque and privately owned gardens he had visited in England and France, vast greenery that was at once organic and controlled. The New York City park was revolutionary for the time as it was a public space where all people could enjoy the virtues of nature, despite social standing. Today, New Yorkers are still looking for ways to commune with nature and creatively imbue the city scale with greenery, stacking plant life on top of man-made structures like the Highline, rooftop farming or yesterday’s news about kitchen island hydroponics.
Then comes the Plant-in City art installation, developed by a collaboration of NY architects, designers, and developers. The handsome terrariums made of cedar frames, copper pipes for water, digital sensors, and integrated lighting bring picturesque gardens into your home or office. The Plant-in collaboration contains the sense of park in your private space, the lighting and boxed frames lend themselves to punctuating the vitality of living plants, much like a still life. The boxes are equal parts art, science experiment, and high design. Huy Bui of HB Collaborative says that he and his partners, Med44, in the Plant-in City project spend a lot of time indoors surrounded by technology and hardware and were “looking for an opposing force to balance all of that and considered creating a living wall.”