Plants Take Up Residence in Offices

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Although he studied political science and marketing, design was always something special for Alain Gilles (born in 1970 in Brussels, Belgium). That’s why in 2007, he decided to quit his job in financing, change his life and open a design studio in Brus-sels. Since then he has been working for important companies and has received prestigious international awards.

Ergonoma: Alain GILLES, you are a creative, an essential designer! When did you «fall» into GREEN? And why are you still faithful to it?

As so often the most beautiful encounters happen by accident! This was the case for my meeting with the Belgian company Greenmood and the world of plants… and more particularly with Sadig, its founder. It is the prestigious Interieur Kortrijk Biennale that put us in touch in 2016, to design their booth, but the design had to be made within the day…

Greenmood, which at the time already had a number of franchises worldwide, was looking to launch a collection of products using stabilized moss and lichens that do not require any watering or maintenance. Their goal was to capitalize on their know-how in the world of naturally preserved plants where they are one of the international leaders, creating a collection of modern and functional products that could easily be shipped around the world in boxes.

Ergonoma: We know you for your products distributed now by a lot of brands in Europe and in the world, but you, ultimately, why did you come to design nature so that it protects and embellishes and accompanies our professional universe?

For me, as an industrial designer, it was fascinating, and also a unique chance to create projects using plants, a world that is actually quite far from the world I generally design for. I also felt that there was a real desire and need to have more plants in our interiors, especially in our workspaces to make them more human and appeasing. It was also an opportunity to develop radically new products and to venture out into uncharted territory. Apart for some kitsch frames using naturally preserved plants, no one was really producing a functional product with plants. As it turned out, naturally preserved plants also happen to have very good acoustic qualities making them this way even more useful in our noisy work environments.

For Greenmood, we have therefore designed different ranges of products to dress and structure a space: freestanding modular elements, as well as elements to hang on a wall. These should be seen as tools allowing architects to create their own designs by playing with these modules. As a designer, to play with this nature, I frame it and highlight it with metal structures that are available in different finishes: white, black, gold, and “Corten”. The collection is therefore quite graphic and fresh, it also very often plays with geometric shapes, and with perspective effects.

Extract from Ergonoma Journal N°58/

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