Unique Interiorscape Projects to Spark Your Creativity
For most of my interiorscape life, my projects have involved designing for the usual office space, lobby, landscape, or mall. Over time, that work can become mundane, leading me to wonder what kind of projects other interiorscape designers work on. When boredom strikes, I’ll recall certain projects that stood out. I hope sharing some of my most unusual jobs will spark inspiration for you!
Unique Projects #1: The Golden Shoes
While building my second interiorscape business, I worked as a part-time designer at a florist shop. Most of our orders came from the FTD website, and we simply copied the picture from the FTD handbook. Once in a while, though, we got to use our imagination.
One particular day, a middle-aged lady entered the shop and placed a pair of gold painted shoes on the counter. These were not sexy gold stilettos, but something an elderly person would wear. I stand there, wondering if she has perhaps mistaken our shop for the leather repair shop down the street. Such is not the case.
“I know this isn’t something you normally do,” she begins, “but these shoes were my mother’s favorite and she rarely took them off. Her funeral is this Saturday, and it would mean a lot if you could put a nice flower arrangement in them to have on display.”
After she left, I stared at the shoes, feeling a little creeped out. How the heck I was going to pull this design off? I mean, no FTD handbook referenced a gold penny loafer shoe arrangement. The other designer in our floral shop refused to touch the shoes. I decided that nothing I could do would make the shoes any uglier, and winged it.
Using only white florals, I actually ended up creating a very complimentary design with the bright gold color. Once complete, I realized I had fun thinking outside the box. Most of all, the deceased woman’s daughter was overjoyed when she saw the result!
Unique Projects #2: The Sheik’s Ship
Part of my work requires traveling to many different parts of the city to meet clients. However, today marked the first time I was going to meet someone at a marine yard. I envisioned a large cabin cruiser – the reality was a mini-cruise ship with helicopter pad, state rooms, grand piano lounge, gym, and designated professional captain and crew. As the chief stewardess showed me around, I tried hard to not let my mouth drop in amazement.
The ship had potted plants in the gym, in the piano lounge, in the second floor living room, in the stern deck, and in bathrooms. Every single plant needed to be changed out. I though one company installer would be enough, but I quickly realized I should have brought two men. We began replanting the heavy ceramic containers on the deck, because I wanted to avoid any possible staining of carpets. As soon as we started, though, the stewardess quickly asked us to move; we were on the newly installed teak wood floor. Luckily, my helper was very good-natured and carried every pot off the ship, down the two ramp flights, and helped replanting on the dock before returning every planter back to the ship.
Moving the pots was not the biggest challenge, though. Outside on the teak deck stood a row of giant planters. Somehow, I had to find a plant that could survive Florida andAntarctica, which was the sheik’s next stop. What tropical plant survives Antarctica weather? I stressed over this, especially since the stewardess was already unhappy that we had not potted a couple plants dead center. That was something we could fix, but replacing dead plants in the middle of the Antarctic ocean was impossible.
After seeking advice from landscapers, I decided the best plant for durability and aesthetics was nandina. The reddish color complimented the teak, and the stewardess loved the finished product. Whether or not it survived the journey to Antarctica, I have no idea!
Unique Projects #3: The Movie
Probably the coolest project I worked on occurred when the producers of the HBO movie, Recount, came to Jacksonville. The interiorscape company I worked for at the time got the project and passed it over to me. I was thrilled and nervous at the same time.
Before the producers arrived in Jacksonville and began shooting, they emailed me the scene layout with the basic shape of the foliage drawn in. For instance, they needed a row of bushes to help soften a parking garage. A few scenes of building lobbies required tall foliage in high end containers to flank the elevator doors. Most of the project involved providing large ficus trees or hedge rows for the camera man to hide behind while filming.
In one 10 second scene, a limo drove up to a law firm. The producer thought the firm’s landscaping looked terrible. She wanted me to redesign the entrance by adding bright flower bed. I don’t know if the law firm gave them permission to dig up the yard, but the risk was worth it, as the movie paid really well. The toughest part was ensuring the foliage material arrived by 6 AM sharp. If we missed something or delivered late, we held up the movie.
When production was over, it felt like an eternity until the movie released. To celebrate my accomplishment, my family and I gathered around the TV to watch the HBO premier. The film centered on the Al Gore/George W. Bush presidential race, when the election hung in the balance because of Florida’s voting system. I thought it was a fascinating story, especially with talented actors like Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, John hurt, Denis Leary, and Tom Wilkinson. When the movie finished, I turned to my parents and asked what they thought about the plants. Both of them replied, “What plants?”
Ok, so I didn’t have any wow-factor scenes where I replicated the hanging gardens of Babylon, but the movie did win the 2008 Emmy for Best Primetime Movie! I’d like to think I had a very small part in that success, even if nobody watching the film noticed.
Share Your Stories
I could tell more examples of unique interiorscape projects, but I would love to hear some of yours! Comment below and share some of the incredible, random, and creatively challenging designs you’ve had over the years in the industry.
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