Get the Look of this Airy South London Studio Designed Around Plants

Turn your home into a “garden of delights” with these 9 products.

According to Sotheby’s Institute of Art, cabinets of curiosities were the aristocrat’s answer to the question of how to entertain guests at lavish parties thrown during the Italian Renaissance. Today, many collectors no longer tuck their curiosities in a built cabinet but scatter them throughout the rooms in their home, from natural objects to unique finds, for reasons ranging from the personal to the artistic to the scientific. In Claire Bingham’s book The New Naturalists (Thames and Hudson, May 2022), the interiors journalist visits 20 homes of the most creative contemporary collectors to reveal the stories behind their treasures, as well as how readers can apply their ideas to their own decor.

Indian artist Raqib Shaw’s expansive south London studio and living space, shown here, has been transformed from a former sausage factory into what he describes as a “garden of delights.” In addition to being a spacious setting to create his opulent and intricately detailed paintings of fantastical worlds, Shaw’s home is the perfect habitat for his many plants, including a few dozen specimens of bonsai, hanging planters of Tradescantia zebrina, and some massive jades. The commitment to caring for these extremely sensitive creatures is exactly what draws Shaw to collecting them. “I feel the urge to collect from a place of nurture,” he says. “If I see a pristine bonsai, I don’t say, oh, yes, I should have that. It’s always the ones that are neglected that I like to look out for.”

The bedroom’s oak wood paneling is used to divide the space, Shaw’s take on Japanese aesthetics. And the handmade, bent pendant lights by Tom Raffield cast magical shadows at night. “When you look up in the evening, the shadows are like ballerinas dancing,” Shaw says. “The Mughals used light and shadows in their gardens in the most fascinating way, an effect I was hoping to emulate here.” Check out our editors’ selection of nine finds to spark your own curio practice.

1. Edo Platform Bed //
2. Moon Vase //
3. Natural Oak Acoustic Slat Wood Wall Panels //
4. Tanima Quilt //
5. Oulu Rug //
6. Eames Molded Plastic Task Armchair //
7. Arame Pendant //
8. Pinched Hanging Planter in Seafoam //
9. Trestle Desk //

Share The Inspiration