Draped Flowers, a curtain by Japanese designer Akane Moriyama of Oakland-based design collective UMÉ Studio, is a dreamy spin on the now ubiquitous vertical garden that delivers a concentrated dose of nature to otherwise austere tech HQs and modernist homes.
Envisioning an elegant, flowy “room divider” strewn with live blooms, Moriyama collaborated with UMÉ Studio founders Mei-Lan Tan and Victor Lefebvre to update her painstakingly handknit linen prototype, interspersed with more than 100 tiny hidden pockets to hold stems of any sort. They settled on machine-woven Manila jute for Draped Flowers 2.0. Technically a type of paper used for compostable seed beds, the sustainable, hardy textile nods to the drape as a canvas for nature’s finery. The semitransparent fabric also honors the importance of sunlight to plant life: Beams pass through its loose weave, imbuing a whole space with warmth and light, while material folds capture sunglow.
“As artists, we think about how a space can be changed through objects we design,” says Lefebvre, who admits he and Tan usually install dried, low-maintenance native California grasses in the drape’s pockets rather than fresh wildflowers or foliage. The often nomadic Moriyama, meanwhile, is especially concerned with creating a sense of place. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to carry my curtain in my suitcase and be able to create my own personalized space wherever I go?’” she reflects. As such, frequently adorning the drape are roadside dandelions—blooms one can find emerging triumphantly from cracks in the blacktop almost anywhere.
Originally published in the April issue of Silicon Valley