Article by Soraia Martins
There’s one thing as natural as breathing that keeps my mind sane and sound: the sweet fragrance of plants, their unique textures and oftentimes larger-than-life dimensions. I grew up surrounded by greenery, a happy childhood reassured by nature’s best condiment — and, dare I say, therapy.
Living in Lisbon for over a decade now, my pursuit of indoor plants grew exponentially. Was I seeking out my youth’s bucolic dreams or simply following a rising trend? For my sake, I hope it was the first, though the latter brought a couple of botanical gems to Lisbon in no time, which is the case of superbotânica, a plant shop that also sells pottery and other gardening accessories, as well as plant styling services. The whole package, of you will, like nature at your doorstep.
superbotânica is the brainchild of Marcio Orci da Silva and Roberta Gontijo, a Brazilian-born couple who moved to London in 2015 to change their career paths. «Roberta always worked as a landscape architect, and I as an architect for many, many years on projects that had nothing to do with plants. Moving to London came from our urge in wanting to do something else», Marcio says. There Roberta enrolled in a florist course and worked in it for a while, until they started noticing there was an ongoing trend with indoor plants made up of “exotic” genera they knew pretty well from Brazil: Philodendrons, Monstera, palm trees, Alocasia, Calatheas.
After visiting Lisbon for a couple of times, they did what many people have been doing for the last few years after they fall in love with the city: they moved here and started a business. superbotânica opened in 2018 when there was still not a lot going on as far as the indoor plant craze is concerned with an online shop and a place in Alcântara, where you can go and feast your eyes with their amazing selection of green friends.
Marcia and Roberto
They also realized there was space to grow in terms of consultancy and styling. «Our focus is small-scale indoor plants — terraces, balconies, yards. We do a lot of private houses, but we’ve been increasingly been called for offices and restaurants as consultants. First we make an assessment of the space — natural light, dampness, ventilation, sun exposure — and the clients — if they enjoy plants, if they want to take care of them themselves or need some maintenance drop-ins, if the space’s going to have kids or pets around, and other factors that weigh in on our plant selection. Once our proposal is approved, we bring and install everything», he adds.
It’s not easy being green, but I think we’re on the right track. Everyone’s leaning on the trend so the world can be better-off and more sustainable. «It’s in our nature to be surrounded by other living things, and people notice that as soon as their homes are filled with plants. If superbotânica can play a role in making the city happier and more committed to nature, then our work here is done. Oh, and if we can get rid of artificial plants once and for all, even better».
Text: Soraia Martins
Picture: © superbôtanica