City Planters…the evolution of a design.
I’m always interested in the creative process…what sparks an idea? How did it evolve? So along those lines, we thought you might be interested in seeing the evolution of the City Planter, Potted’s newest design that just debuted to great success at last week’s Dwell on Design and was picked as the LA Times Top 11 of the show. We’re still a bit giddy over that one.
Like most ideas, we got our inspiration from somewhere and in this instance, it was from this amazing garden done by Ketti Kupper.
I first saw the garden in, I believe, an issue of Sunset Magazine and it really made me pause at how artful it was. We thought how cool would it be to create something like this on a smaller scale, you know, for that little space everyone has between their sliding door and window or just to the left of the front door?
Ketti used brass for her installation, but we decided on 14-guage steel for it’s strength and the beauty it takes on when it patinas. We didn’t choose Corten Steel because we felt the additional cost wasn’t worth it. The point of Corten is that it weathers and then “self seals.” But in reality you still get rust stains running down the side of your house and that is exactly what we didn’t want to happen. So we chose to seal our planters with matte lacquer and then, when the sealer wears off eventually and you never get around to sealing it again because you have a life, we hung the planters on an aluminum cleat (that doesn’t rust) and floated them so they don’t actually touch the wall.
This first prototype we did we tried to patina with vinegar. The results were kind of cool, as you see here, but it worked way too slow and we realized we were going to have to find something that would patina them more quickly. We also discovered with the prototype (hence the need for prototypes) that we had to create drainage and that it needed to drain forward to further stop the possibility of any rust running down a wall.
Making things locally when we can is important to us, so we were excited to be working with a new and very talented metal artist, Isaac Correa, located in Frog Town, not 5 minutes from the store. He hooked us up with his buddy Damon Robinson of Nomad Studios and Damon tried these crazy etchings on the planters. I never realized that it was not so easy to etch onto metal without nasty chemicals, something that Damon was trying to accomplish here. In the end it didn’t prove cost effective to do the etchings but hey, you never know what we might come up with in the future.
Ultimately we did have to buy acid patina (which is what vinegar is but these were more concentrated) and they worked great except when little accidents happened like this one where we left them outside before they were sealed and it rained with a bottle sitting on one. But I love happy accidents.
And then we got the bright idea to color dip them (something I had obsessed over after seeing a blog post on The Brick House a while back). But in our world it evolved to more color blocking as the literal dipping just wasn’t possible and made a messy disaster out of the hanging cleat. But we really gave it the old college try.
But ultimately it was when we made them larger that they really took my breath away.
They’re so new we haven’t even gotten a chance to see all their possibilities yet.
I could imagine a wall of them lined up along a long entry…
Or just one perfectly lit like a painting.
We showed them at Dwell with stainless steel house numbers that we had, on a whim, purchased the night before at OSH, glued on magnets and presto, instant function. People loved them. I see the next phase of evolution, don’t you?
City Planters. Available in 12″ x 20″ or 20″ x 30″ Vertical or Horizontal