The Plant Society Journal 05

A life with plants : Takeshi Shima


In this featured interview series, we meet plant people, gardeners and creators who make plant related goods to introduce their delightful life with plants. This time, we meet Japanese designer Takeshi Shima, design director of creative studio moss. (@moss._cd).

Photography: Takeshi Shima @moss._cd
Words: Rei Yamakura @idreit_com



Shima is a designer who has worked for an architectural design firm, a furniture brand, and a design firm that specializes in garden design. He has recently been involved in various projects, such as interior design for offices and apartments and planting plans for hotels.

When we asked him how he started growing plants at home, he replied, "When I was working for a furniture manufacturer, I occasionally designed Visual Marchandise that used plants. At that time, about ten years ago, the plant shop owner I worked with gave me a potted Schefflera plant as a housewarming gift. Since then, I thought it would be nice to have plants in my house, so I started adding them little by little."



"When I first started using plants in my visual merchandising work, I wasn't really interested in growing them. But after growing them myself, it became fun to see the changes, like a little flower blooming on small cacties or several plants sprouting in the spring", he added.
We asked Shima what he keeps in mind when choosing plants, he replied, "I don't have any particular preferences, but I don't choose plants that collectors like, such as caudex. The plant store owner who gave me the first plant taught me that I should pay attention to the plant's shape first, rather than the species or the price. If it's a good one, it can change the mood of the space. Those words left a deep impression on me, so I still pay attention to them. I also like plants that are wild, lush and natural.


The latest favourite, he said, was milk bush, a type of euphorbia.
"I bought this milk bush and planted it with the cacti. For me, planting them together in one pot is fun when it works."
Recently, he gave away his small pots to a friend because his one-year-old daughter was walking around, and it was unsafe for her. The interior of the apartment where Shima and his family live was designed by himself.
"We found a rental property that was available for renovation and designed it ourselves, participating in the construction partly as a DIY project. In the centre of the room, we wanted a large kitchen counter, so I made a drawing and had it finished with tiles."
The carefully selected furniture by the Shima couple, wall lamps by Jean Prouvé and a low table by Arflex harmonize with the greenery to create a rich scene.


When we asked him about the rough DIY shelves and the pebbles placed here and there, he replied, "I just like natural stones and pebbles, such as the ones found around the riversides (laughs). Regarding this shelf, I bought scaffolding stepladders at a metal factory and just put the boards on it myself," he explained. As a professional designer with a wide range of experience in space design, Shima's styling, with no over-decoration, has created a comfortable space.
He has stated the phrase "Like a moss. We adapt to the environment spreads endlessly" as the design philosophy of his creative studio. As a nature-minded person, Shima's lifestyle with plants seems to be fascinating. Today, work from home is becoming more common, his interiors with plants that allow people to relax during work hours or on holidays can be great inspiration for city dwellers.

Takeshi Shima / moss.

1987年東京都生まれ。2009年桑沢デザイン研究所スペースデザイン学科卒業、株式会社アルフレックスジャパン、各インテリアデザイン事務所を経て、2021年 moss. (@moss._cd)設立。moss.はインテリア、建築など空間づくりを軸に、苔むすように悠久な時を過ごせる質朴で心地の良いデザインを提供するクリエイティブスタジオ。デザインディレクター : 志摩 健

Born in Tokyo in 1987. After graduated Kuwasawa Design School (Space Design Course) in 2009, he worked for Arflex Japan and design studios. Established his own creative studio 'moss.'(@moss._cd) in 2021 and work as design director. 'Moss.' is a creative studio that focuses on interior design, architecture, and other spatial design, offering simple and comfortable designs that allow people to spend eternal time like a moss.