Botanist and Vertical Wall Pioneer Patrick Blanc Talks About the Birth of his Growing Business and How to Create a Natural Ecosystem

Sourced from South China Morning Post

Botanist Patrick Blanc has many babies. Several are in Hong Kong – and one might just be his favourite child. When Blanc arrives in the city for Knowledge Of Design Week (June 11-15) he will be checking on it. “I always stay at Hotel Icon and look at my vertical garden. I say, ‘This is OK’, or ‘You should cut this a little bit’. It’s my growing baby,” he says.

The living wall at Tsim Sha Tsui’s Hotel Icon extends across the lobby and features a soothing, swirling mass of more than 70 plant species. Blanc will be assessing its progress and extending it outdoors.

Blanc has been crafting vertical gardens for 40 years. “Compared to what I was doing in the 1980s, I travel more and my evolution concerns mostly the choice of plant species. Also, I make more designs, so it’s not simply vertical gardens, but artistic creations.”

Blanc takes on projects in challenging climates. He is currently working alongside regular collaborator, French architect Jean Nouvel on the West Sea Art Bay in Qingdao, China, a contemporary art space whose gardens will have to withstand the region’s freezing winters.

Blanc’s gardens on the roof of the KAFD Conference Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia must survive temperatures up to 52 degrees Celsius. “Since I know quite well the growth of plants, I know which species I can use in each special situation,” says Blanc.

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