Without the green pigments of chlorophyll, plants could not absorb energy from light. The artist Jeanette Ramirez was so inspired by the natural power of chlorophyll that she decided to found THE CLOROFILAS, a creative laboratory based in Manchester. Her work goes beyond the decorative use of plants and urban gardens.
In her art pieces, plants become the oil and the canvas
Ramirez masters the knowledge of botany and green in public spaces. During her years in Barcelona, she participated in projects that raised awareness of urban gardens and gave classes on urban green at the Design School Elisava. Nowadays, she applies botanical techniques to create art pieces that surpass functionality and design, in order to let you participate in an aesthetic experience.
Alive is an adjective that describes the art pieces from The Clorofilas lab. However, the curiosity for new materials has lead to the use of dead organic materials, or materials that only need just a little bit of water to keep alive, as various types of moss and mushrooms.
I had the chance to visit Jeanette in her apartment in Caracas, during the early 2000s, while she was still in art school. There was an interesting carpet in the living room she had been commissioned to design for an office. The carpet was made with a transparent plastic fabric, which had a collection of unconventional materials inside that worked as the cushion of the carpet. A piece of neon yellow cardboard was one of these cushion materials. Those were the days when neon yellow was stigmatized as a 1980s thing. It was the first time in my life I thought about this color independently of that decade. I was very impressed that Ramirez did not doubt to experiment with it. Nowadays neon colors are back in clothing and design. This example proves that Ramirez is a trendsetter. She goes beyond conventions using glamour instead of rebellion.
Some of the topics that currently interest her are the effects of music in plants, plant intelligence and bio phonetics. I asked Jeanette to recommend me some reading. She mentioned Charles Darwin, Stefano Mancuso (The movements of plants) and Patrick Planck, the inventor of vertical gardens.
The Clorofilas mixes its activities with another botanical design studio called TWIG. While The Clorofilas has an intimate artistic focus, Twig offers an alternative to traditional floristry and gardening. Living walls, futuristic flowerpots, indoor landscapes, are some of the ways that these creative labs integrate vegetation into urban or artistic spaces. I invite you to take a journey to TheClorofilas and Twig, and let your eyes relax.