We have been following Graen Studios with an abundance of adoration for quite some time. We were automatically won over by their well crafted products and overarching aesthetic. Here we took the opportunity to explore design, appreciation of nature and memories connected to everyday items.
Q. We are in awe of the way you have reframed the act of growing plants into an artistic endeavour; a practice filled with sensitivity and philosophical outlook. Why was it so important to you to establish a design-led business?
Design is so prevalent in nature and also very important to our everyday lives. It’s much more than aesthetics, especially with horticulture, function is so significant. If you’re using an ergonomically designed tool, its impact on your physical and mental health will be more positive than one that is poorly designed. Thoughtfully designed objects are also important when considering environmental impact. We ask questions such as what materials were used to produce a product, what are the effects of manufacturing, what is a products lifespan? Businesses have a responsibility to address these topics.
Q. The experience of slowing down, becoming aware of our daily life and appreciating nature seem to be part of Graen Studios key principles. What are the positive aspects of growing plants, in particular, how does this benefit ones health and wellbeing?
Nature moves at its own pace, so it encourages us to slow down from our hasty modern lives. We can learn patience and observation when growing and working with plants, and our brains also receive a serotonin boost from the bacterium found in soil. Being surrounded by the colour green is calming and can alleviate anxiety, it is the default mode for our brains. The more we involve ourselves in nature the more we gain. There is a lot of excellent literature on this topic. We highly recommend The Well Gardened Mind by Sue Stuart-Smith, which offers an incredible insight on the effects of nature on health and wellbeing.
Q. In our own home we have purposefully displayed some of your seed packaging as it helps to enhance the aesthetic of our space. Could you tell us about your approach to designing packaging?
The seed packaging began with creating a photographic series, capturing an image that resonated and would remind the viewer of the beauty of nature. We then translated it in to a product designed not to be thrown away after use, but kept and treasured or passed on as a joyful gift to others.
Q. We like the idea that stories or memories are often connected to objects. What do you think is the importance of good timeless design that is passed down from generation? Do you have any advice on how to curate a home with objects?
Objects that have personal connections often have a longer life. They are handled with greater care, more likely to be repaired if broken instead of being disposed of. If you appreciate an object and the stories and memories it holds it will add greater value to your home. We believe less is more but also appreciate this ethos is not for everyone. Choose objects that connect to you and who you are.
Q. It is important to highlight the ethical side of Graen Studios. How does horticultural therapy work exactly in the charities that you support?
We donate a percentage of profits from Graen products to local charities who use horticultural therapy to enable positive change. The charities work with refugees, people with mental health conditions, learning difficulties and disabilities where the garden is a refuge, providing a safe and nurturing space. Nature is used as a tool to improve both physical and mental wellbeing, improving communication skills, decreasing isolation and offering a new sense of purpose and achievement.
With thanks to Graen Studios for their contribution and all photographs.