At the University of Stuttgart, Germany, a new architectural discipline is evolving, with leaves, branches, and roots. The research group is called Baubotanik (Botanic Architecture), and it is where the architects are gardeners, and the plants are architects.
A room decorated with William Morris's colorful patterns offers a certain reassurance: teatime will always be sunny. The nineteenth-century designer applied his exquisite flora-based designs to textiles, tiles, and, of course, wallpaper. As if throwing open the heavy drapes, he ushered nature's forms inside the home.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed Hollyhock House with a stylized motif of the flower, which grow alongside the Los Angeles landmark building. The effect is a beautiful symmetry of architecture and nature, with a surprising unity of character: somehow, the concrete hollyhocks look no less elegant than the living flowers reflected beneath them.
Ever wish there was a Shazam for trees? LeafSnap is a new mobile app that can identify a tree's species by looking at a photograph of its leaf. It's a field guide for the twenty-first century, which uses facial recognition algorithms to analyze the leaf's contour so it can find a match from its index of species.
Books made from trees? Yes, and these are no ordinary volumes: Bound in the bark of their respective tree, covered with moses and lichens, and filled with pages fabricated from the tree's leaves, these book are a very literal representation of their subjects.
Royal courts have often been trend-setters and the Russian court was no exception. Anna Laurent takes a look at some of the most elaborate Fabergé Eggs in her column, looking into some of the prettiest (and fanciest) eggs, which were decorated with botanical motifs, symbolizing the start of spring.
A fine specimen in a long line of great American roadside attractions, the Tree Circus is a curious orchard that included a birdcage, ladder, spirals, a telephone booth, and a staircase, all fashioned from the pliable branches of birch, ash, elms, and weeping willows. Started in the 1950s in California, the Tree Circus is a neat botanical version in a long history of wacky Californian attractions, including tar pits, dinosaur parks, and the mystery spot.
Petunia is the new black! Our columnist Anna Laurent investigates the "Black Velvet" petunia and its specially bred dark hues. Adored by designers and admired by breeders, the flower is the most recent addition to a trend for black-flowered plants.
While botanic fashion has yet to see urban streets and Bill Cunningham's lens, the concept has been flourishing on the runway and the artist's studio. Here are three designers who have culled their materials from the plants that inspire them.