We needed to build a Bonsai. A big one.
See, Bonsai Plants have a lot of poetic power. For over a thousand years, Bonsai have been grown for their artistic beauty, with cultures around the world creating unique expressions in each plant. Bonsai have a character that makes them visually distinct from most plant varieties with twisting, stunted branches, and shapely bursts of foliage. With careful planning and skill, these plants grow into an expressive gesture that connects to people on an emotional level. When we were contacted by Environetics to help them construct a behemoth Bonsai measuring just over five feet tall, we realized a tree that size would give us a lot of room for expression. But what would we say with all that canvas? That very question quickly showed us that our biggest challenge was going to be design and artistic execution, and we were more than excited to get our hands dirty on a project with so much potential.
In a project as special as this, we knew that communication was going to be incredibly important to our success in design, and our relationship with the client. Through every step of the design and fabrication process, we took constant photographs to offer transparency to our clients and to get their valuable creative input on every detail. Our most experienced sculptor, Topher, was able to imbue this very special Bonsai with a masterful touch that truly put the piece on another level. But getting the Bonsai built was only part of the battle.
The tree had a massive canopy that spanned over seven feet wide - which we knew from the beginning would cause a hiccup in shipping and installation. Getting the tree to fit in a shipping crate or even through a doorway was simply not going to happen. For that reason, we designed the tree to break down into three components, each of which could be easily disassembled, shipped and moved through a freight elevator to the final installation site six stories up.
The final tree that still stands today is a proud and stunning centerpiece in our client’s reception area. The tree was seamlessly reassembled and is now part of an indoor zen-garden that sets the tone for the rest of the space. Every detail, down to the botanically accurate foliage chosen for the tree, rings of authenticity and thoughtfulness. After our work was finished, we got a call from the client who had asked a Bonsai Master to trim and shape the final product. Here’s what they had to say:
"I wanted to let you know that I sent the photos to the Bonsai Master who told us not to put a real one inside and he was very impressed! He thought you did an incredible job, especially on the trunk."
"We had the Bonsai Master come out and he did some minor trimming and some ‘styling’ of the foliage. He really couldn’t get over how great the tree looked! You did an awesome job! He said he once made a small fake bonsai tree for the Karate Kid Movie"
Getting a satisfactory job done on-time is enough for a lot of people. But it’s not enough for us. Crafting a replica Bonsai that earns the respect of a Bonsai Master and leaves our clients singing our praises is what we aim for. Let there be no question, Commercial Silk can #ReplicateThat.