Moss deft: why we are manicuring our green, short and curlies

‘Kusamono’ no. 1 planter (back right); ‘Kusamono’ no. 2 (back left); ‘Kusamono’ no. 3 (front)
‘Kusamono’ no. 1 planter (back right); ‘Kusamono’ no. 2 (back left); ‘Kusamono’ no. 3 (front), £1,700 each, all by Archite & Archive.
(Image credit: Studio K-H. Set, Matthew Morris)

The search among the architecturally articulate for texture in the plant world has lately led to moss. ‘If you look to Japan, there is a long, artful, intelligent history of gardening using moss,’ says John Tebbs, editor of biannual publication Pleasure Garden. ‘We so often seem to be fighting it, but I love to see moss embraced more in the context of a natural garden.’

Meanwhile, London-based designer Pete Pongsak, of Archive & Archive, explores the trainability of moss in his new series of sculptural outdoor planters. Like Tebbs, he was inspired by Japan, taking the grassy/moss element of bonsai displays (shitakusa) and isolating it so that focus can be thrown entirely on the colours, textures and shapes of moss. ‘My planters don’t need soil, only a rough surface to hold on to, so the depth of the planter can be removed from the equation.’ It’s time to still our stones and embrace moss appeal.

As originally featured in the September 2018 issue of Wallpaper* (W*234), and shot inside London's Royal Opera House, which has been newly reconfigured by Stanton Williams.