Jin Ahn & Giacomo Plazzotta
Jin and her partner Giacomo are co-founders of Conservatory Archives in London
Jin, tell us a bit about yourself: your background, what you do, the space we’re shooting you in. I was born and raised in Seoul, the most crowded city in the world. I moved to the UK in 2010 to improve my English skills and make a change from my career as a fashion designer. Spending time in the English countryside was inspiring. I come from a huge city with a lot of concrete. I thought, if I can work with nature, I‘ll live happily ever after, so I decided to study horticulture. While I imagined I’d be working in a botanical garden or a nursery, the reality of working outside in the English weather wasn’t ideal for this city girl. After completing my degree and moving to London, I realised I could use my previous experience and background in design and business to open a store dedicated to indoor gardening in the context of a big city, and so Conservatory Archives was born.
How did you come to open Conservatory Archives, and what is it all about? Once I had finished my degree it seemed weird to me that people gave little attention to indoor gardening, and not many stores and businesses in London specialised in indoor plants. Seoul has a very different lifestyle than here, as the majority of people live in high-rise buildings, which means no outdoor gardens. So I grew up seeing loads of houseplants. The creative locals in East London are very supportive of what we are doing so it seems we made the right choice.
How has your design background influenced your work with plants? My background in design, as well as growing up in the city, means I feel very comfortable with interior spaces. I like to see plants in buildings, surrounded by furniture and other things. My interest in design and vintage furniture definitely influenced the idea of what Conservatory Archives would be as well as the look and feel of the store itself. I believe choosing a plant is not dissimilar to choosing a piece of furniture, so why not do both in the same place?