Whether consciously or subconsciously, buying plants is a tacit investment in the world a person wants to live in, and the maker who arranges those plants has an impact on that world. Buying from someone overly commerce-driven may eventually lead to living in a world where greenery has become rare and only for the privileged. Buying from someone overly aesthetics-driven may result in the ecosystem of plant ownership gradually becoming devoid of meaning and substance, where plants exist solely for photography. Not buying plants at all, of course, has its own impacts.
Instead, buying plants from someone who is an expert in plants and who, more importantly, believes in the transcendence readily available in caring for plants, nurturing plants, and finding the meaning in plants, will lead to a better world. A world where people respect the plant life all around them, and the plant life all around them, in turn, delivers people from the mediocrity and oppression of modernity’s artificiality. Considering all this, it is no wonder, then, what drives the popularity of Fractal Flora: its owners Sarah Lim and Yuri Kim and their thoughtful succulents, air plants, terrariums, DIY workshops, and living walls.
“We are most proud of our DIY terrarium workshop because it aligns with our mission to reconnect people to nature,” Lim and Kim say. “Our workshop started as a way to help people connect to their terrariums in a personal way. We feel that when you build your own mini world and learn to care for what’s inside by observing its needs, you will also in turn learn to appreciate and take care of the larger world around you. We apply the numerous lessons we have learned from plants to our everyday lives and hope our customers will do the same.”
Inspired by fractals—mathematical growth patterns found in nature—and consequently humans predisposition to recognize and resonate with these shapes and patterns in their own growth, Lim and Kim started Fractal Flora after observing the significant disconnect between themselves and nature as a result of their jobs. “As part of our business, we create plant interior design plans, bring greenery into offices, and provide maintenance packages,” Lim and Kim say. “The greatest moments in our maker business have always been the reports we receive from our customers on how happy and relaxed they feel with greenery in their space.”
Somewhat inevitably, in the future, Lim and Kim would like to fully realize Fractal Flora in an actual physical space. “Our vision for Fractal Flora is to open a plant cafe in San Jose where people can feel they’ve stepped into a green oasis,” the duo says. It’ll be in this, and projects like this, ultimately, where the dividends of a patronage of plant experts will become fully expressed—where those who’ve been entrusted to deliver something greener and more natural to existence will begin doing so in unavoidable and significantly public ways.
Written by Kevin Biggers of SJMADE
Photography by Arabela Espinoza