Landscape in a Pot

Shenzhen, China

Third prize in Shenzhen Flower Pot Competition

The city of Shenzhen is in a state of constant transformation. Growing from 30.000 inhabitants to over 10 million, the image of the city of 1985 is incomparable with that of 2021. In all this change, the surrounding mountain landscape is a constant factor, an anchor to hold on to. 

With the growth of the city, the landscape is further and further removed from the inhabitants of Shenzhen. This design aims to brings the rocks and planting of the mountains to the heart of the city, reconnecting the inhabitants to the surrounding landscape, showing them the beauty of their native plants. 

We present the local landscape to the inhabitants of Shenzhen like a work of shanshui penjing, an idealised landscape with ornamental rocks and native planting. The rocks form the main structure of the composition, the planting grows in the spaces between the rocks, resulting in an abstracted version of nature. 

The base of the design is a modular, pentagonal shape. The uniform shape makes for easy standardisation.  This shape makes a wide range of compositions possible; small, big, formal, informal, whatever is best for the place or the occasion. 

The rock parts have a wide variety of uses: they can be used as stepping stones, places to wait for the bus or to meet up with friends. Furthermore, the different textures create a rough surface where lichens and mosses can grow. This way, the elements will grow more precious and valuable over time.

The planting palette for the plant pots is based on the indigenous vegetation of Shenzhen,  consisting of  tropical evergreen broadleaved forests. Shenzhen has a total of 724 species of native ornamental plants with development prospects, belonging to 488 genera and 174 families, accounting for 50% of the total number of local wild plants. From this wide range we put together a palette of trees, shrubs and perennial plants.  With this palette, all sorts of combinations can be made, from a calm, evergreen planting based on different shades of green and different types of foliage to a more abundant, colourful planting with lots of flowers.