Every day doing my research, I see the word genius along with other undeserved superlatives tossed around indiscriminately. Hyperbole is the order of the day. In the case of Patrick Blanc, however, the word genius is well deserved.
In all my years as an interior plantscaping professional, I know of no other person who has scaled the heights of Monsieur Blanc. With that said, it was still a surprise to see him in a Wall Street Journal video.
In my view, he is largely responsible for breathing new life into the rather moribund, techno-averse interior plantscaping business. Call them green walls, vertical gardens, or living walls. I see Blanc type walls everywhere, most of them by new creative people in the business. There is hope for a new age of urban greenscaping founded on modern technology and that is definitely a good thing.
How would you like to have a view from your desk like his?
Since Biblical times, gardens have been horizontal, with flowers and plants sprouting out of the ground. Patrick Blanc has turned that whole notion on its side, literally. Mr. Blanc is the inventor of the vertical garden, also known as the living (or green) wall.
Mr. Blanc, 58, is a botanist with France's National Center for Scientific Research, the country's giant science and technology agency. He also has a private practice designing gardens. Among the more than 250 he has installed around the world, his most famous are at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, the Caixa Forum Museum in Madrid and the French embassy in New Delhi. A celebrity among horticulturalists, he's even got a new kind of begonia named after him, Begonia blancii, after discovering it two years ago while trekking through a rainforest in the Philippines. These days, a Blanc-designed garden commands well into the six figures.
When he is not on a plane to the Middle East or exploring a remote rainforest in Hawaii to study native plants, Mr. Blanc works at the home he shares with singer Pascal Héni just outside Paris's city limits. There, he has a desk placed on top of a large aquarium, about 20 by 23 feet. "I see the fish swimming beneath my legs," he said. "It is a dream." His office includes a lush living wall, covered with plants. Read more...