When we met multi-hyphenate Huy Bui (artist – entrepreneur – designer – restaurateur) in NYC, we knew we’d have to find a way to work together. His focus on community, sustainability practices and how the two intertwine is right up our alley.
We celebrated our collaboration with Huy and his project Plant-in City at our SoHo store, where he recently finished installing a high tech, self-sufficient, large-scale terrarium. We caught up with Huy to learn more about the project and his vision for mindful consumption.
Describe the ideas behind and mission of Plant-in City.
We live in a contentious time – the balance of nature, technology and space are constantly in flux. Plant-in City spawned from day-to-day modern urban living. We experience the wilderness outdoors, but much of our lives is spent indoors – our current focus is to improve that quality of life and bring a bit of nature inside.
We look to share our ideas through exhibitions and offer bionic plant furnishings where the aesthetic meets the pragmatic. In many ways we see ourselves as equal parts art, science and high design.
How is sustainable design significant to you and why should it be to others?
We use sustainable woods sourced locally from upstate New York and all of our work is made in Brooklyn. We’re very excited about the LED lighting revolution and now full spectrum lighting for growing plants is available on the market. We also utilize environmental sensor technology which has allowed us to experiment with automated water, lighting and other environmental factors.
We are all consumers but it’s important for us to be mindful and ask questions about how we consume. For thoughtful consumers, sustainable design is a lifestyle. These like-minded individuals form a community around the exchange of ideas and resources to create a new way of living.
Do you find a lot of overlap between your projects?
Everything is centered around chaotic 21st century NYC life and very much a result of an unspoken collaborative process. An Choi is a Vietnamese restaurant in LES, and one of the first commissions for HB Collaborative. It features a Plant-In City system dedicated to growing special herbs and provides a wonderful window display on Orchard St. Homemade NYC, is a community of craftsmen creating objects that are locally made and fit within the context of a home.
What’s next for you?
In late fall, Plant-in City will be heading east to share our vision with the megalopolis city of Hong Kong at the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival. This year’s theme is Living Architecture.
For 2015, we will continue working with environmentally innovative technologies – solar energy, compost, water remediation and hydroponic systems – to develop our conceptual practice through exhibitions and installations.
Huy’s Plant-in City terrariums will be available for purchase at Alternative SoHo while supplies last and the installation will remain on display until November 1st. Keep up with Huy at huy-bui.com.
Written by Emily Michaels
Photos by Dominic Neitz