Object stories: Botanical planter screen by Helen Kontouris

By Penny Craswell

It seems that us city-dwellers have gone crazy for all things green over the last couple of years, and Melbourne designer Helen Kontouris has responded with an inspired take on the screen that also acts as a planter, creating curtains of vertical greenery that will suit the smallest interior space or balcony.

Wattle, Acacia and Banksia Botanical planter screens by Helen Kontouris for LEN Furniture. Image: supplied

Designed for LEN Furniture, the  Botanical Planter Screen is self-watering and suits climbing plants, with only one plant per screen required for the full effect – you can even plant climbing vegetables like tomatoes, passionfruit or snow peas. 

Waratah is square, Wattle is square with simplified organic curves, Acacia is shaped like a paddle and Banksia is round like a leaf. So versatile, the Botanical can serve many applications, indoor and out, including that of an office separator, an acoustic absorber, a screen for the pool, a wayfinder for hospitality spaces or an aide to patient recovery in health care environments.

How did you come up with the idea of this screen?

On beautiful sunny days you will often find our family at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. It’s a place where we feel encapsulated by trees and nature and even though it’s so close to the city you somehow feel surprisingly disconnected from the bustling city surrounding you. Observing the large trees and canopies in the botanical gardens provides secluded outlooks to have a picnic or read a book or even shelter from rain – this was a defining influence for the Botanical collection. I find when you’re outside in this environment, the desire to experience those feelings once inside too is quite natural.

Wattle Botanical planter screen by Helen Kontouris for LEN Furniture. Image: Supplied

What informed the shape and materials?

The forms are a play on the organic sensibilities of nature, with each style in the collection resembling leaves with the vascular blades literally allowing the climbing plant to come to life and flourish around the structure.

How do you hope people will use them?

I’d love to see people create new and different ways to use them, however I see them used as green space dividers in open plan spaces, screening and directional way-finding, pool and outdoor entertainment areas screening, green acoustic panels and even to create a thriving vegetable garden in a small space, using climbing plants.

Helen Kontouris is a Melbourne-based designer who has been incredibly successful both on the international scene and in Australia, working with a range of brands including Alessi, De Padova, Kundalini, Schiavello, Stylecraft, Space and LEN.

More on Helen Kontouris

More on LEN Furniture

Banksia sketch, Botanical planter screen by Helen Kontouris. Image: supplied
Botanical planter screens (with and without leaves) by Helen Kontouris for LEN Furniture. Image: supplied
Botanical planter screens (bare) by Helen Kontouris for LEN Furniture. Image: supplied

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