Patrick Blanc’s lush oasis in Dubai

Blanc designed the Middle East’s first indoor vertical garden in Robinsons’ flagship store.

Designer, botanist and artist Patrick Blanc was an integral part of creating the contemporary design at leading department store Robinsons in the Al-Futtaim’s Dubai Festival City—which also features the best of John Lewis furniture, cookware, textiles, glassware, and bed, bath and living products.

Patrick Blanc

Spreading on three levels, across approximately 18,600 square metres, this oasis of inspiration is largest department store in the region, home to 90 exclusive fashion and beauty brands, as well as John Lewis home collections, which are available only at Robinsons. That’s on top of the large variety of 600 carefully selected international and local labels, including Flamingo & Pineapple, Birds of Paradise, Isine, Mu-so and Astell & Kern.

Founded over 100 years ago, Robinsons has a pioneering spirit that has kept it at the forefront of contemporary fashion. Blanc, creator of the infamous Vertical Garden, partnered with Robinsons to develop the Middle East’s first in-store vertical garden. Blanc discussed the details o, the wall and the importance of eco-consciousness.

Robinsons DFC

What inspired your creation?

I’m proud to be associated with a brand which is bringing an eco-friendly consciousness to life as part of its store environment in the Middle East. The concept was inspired by the brand’s Singaporean heritage and gives a nod to Singapore’s urban landscapes, meshing art, design and cultural dimensions. The concept of the store’s vertical garden is integral to laying the foundations for an environmentally-conscious mindset within the city.

What makes it unique?

The Vertical Garden, showcased on the exterior façade of Robinsons as well as its interior atrium, extends over three floors, showcasing over 308 species of foliage, many of which will be the first of their kind in the region.

How does it work with the overall interior design of the store?

The visual merchandising gives a completely new look and feel to the store, and an inspirational experience to its customers. The thematic, ‘Urban Romance’, celebrates the greenery and freshness of fashion – a new urban-green attitude with a nod to the Singaporean heritage of Robinsons.

How does the wall create enthusiasm for eco-consciousness?

I was fortunate to be able to work with children from the Deira International School and the German International School of Dubai in an interactive session to discuss the benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle. The latter school was selected based on the recent establishment of the institution’s sustainability committee, with a focus on educating students about environmental protection and green living. We talked about the specific plant species that are best suited to the local environment, and the development of the vertical garden. We also indulged in healthy vegan refreshments and snacks.

verticalgardenpatrickblanc.com and robinsons.me