More Ups Than Downs

Patrick Morris’s ceiling-hung planters free up space and optimize watering.

Patrick Morris’s self-described eureka moment arrived in a café on London’s Charlotte Street. Peering out the window, he noticed a little office crammed with plants, spilling onto desks and photocopiers alike. “I thought, Is there a way you can have that much greenery with-out using up all the valuable work and floor space?” Morris was an undergrad studying ceramic design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and happened to be en route to a tutorial, so he made a few quick sketches of plants growing upside down from the ceiling. “Everyone sort of rolled with laughter and told me I was bonkers,” he says.

Despite the skepticism, the idea for the inverted planters became his 2006 graduation project, and the finished product recently made its Stateside debut. How does it work? Each ceramic vessel has a lid that locks the plant in place. A porous reservoir—refillable through a hole at the top—allows the roots to draw just the right amount of water. Morris hopes his creation will help cultivate an appreciation of nature in urban settings. “I grew up in a small coastal town in New Zealand, and we were lucky to be surrounded by forests,” he says.

“Having lived in London for the last ten years, I imagine a kid growing up in an apartment on a thirtieth story of a tower block with vines growing in the kitchen and all sorts of food plants—that would be quite a nice goal to try to achieve.” Here Morris takes us through the design that has—quite literally—turned gardening on its head.

Click the images to read Morris’s comments on the design.

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