Biophilic design informs moss-covered installation at luxury bag store

Creative studio Spacemen looked to biophilic design principles to construct a tree-like installation covered in moss, which forms the centrepiece of a flagship outlet for luxury leather brand Braun Büffel in Malaysia.

Described by Shanghai-based Spacemen as a store that straddles an art gallery and a laboratory, the studio wanted to create an interior that would attract a younger audience and serve as “an abstract oasis” in Putrajaya’s IOI Mall.

Interior of bag store in Malaysia with marble cabinetry
Spacemen designed the store interior for bag brand Braun Büffel

Central to this design is an oversized, organic-shaped sculpture clad in preserved flat moss, ball moss and lichen that is suspended from an illuminated disc in the middle of the shop.

A rounded table clad in the same plants was positioned directly below to complete the installation. It also doubles as a plinth for Braun Büffel leather bags, which are displayed sparsely across the store like museum artefacts.

Organic-shaped moss-covered installation that recalls a sprouting tree
It is characterised by a central moss-covered sculpture

The sculpture takes cues from biophilic design – a concept that encourages a closer connection between humans and nature when creating interior spaces.

“The form was designed to seem as though it is sprouting from the ground towards the ceiling – towards the sun – hence why we integrated the membrane lighting ceiling above it, just like how it would grow out of a beaker in a mad scientist’s lab towards natural light,” explained Spacemen founder Edward Tan.

“We envisioned an otherworldly concept akin to something out of a Hollywood sci-fi movie,” he told Dezeen.

Green onyx feature wall with handbags displayed on its shelving
A green onyx feature wall was placed at the back of the store

Tan said that Spacemen adopted a “maximal minimalism” approach when creating the store interiors, in an attempt to challenge the neutral shapes and colours often associated with luxury.

Throughout the shop, lime plaster walls and bright white terrazzo floors are interrupted by various ornate display units and shelves magnified by floor-to-ceiling mirrors.

This cabinetry is made from decadent slabs of swirly orange onyx and jade marble, some of which are topped with glass vitrines that reveal small leather goods.

Spacemen placed a green onyx feature wall at the back of the store, which sits behind furniture including a bespoke curved bench created from the same material as well as a custom oak armchair.

Waiting area in store by Spacemen with bespoke furniture
Bespoke seating creates a waiting area for customers

Explaining the decision to incorporate biophilic design into the Braun Büffel outlet, Tan said, “I think with the pandemic, people have taken to appreciating nature a lot more than before.”

“This is especially true for people living in big cities where they live in apartments and are confined to office cubicles all the time, and do not have access to nature and greenery as much as they should.”

“Therefore it has become a new form of luxury to be able to afford lush greenery and gardens indoors,” he concluded.

Green and orange marble and onyx cabinetry within store interior by Spacemen
Green and orange hues add colourful accents to the space

Other retailers featuring similar designs include a store in Seattle for beauty brand Glossier with a mossy mushroom-covered mound and a Celine boutique in Paris that is characterised by large expanses of brass and marble.

The photography is by David Yeow Photography.

Project credits:

Interior design: Spacemen
Moss artist: Ohsum Mossum

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