Green Healing

Green Healing

At Slow Pharmacy in Banpo, a couple of designers and plant lovers prescribes their visitors a slower lifestyle through plants


here is a place in Banpo, Seoul’s lovely “French district”, where everything revolves around plants and how they can help use live a better life. The name is self-explicative, Slow Pharmacy, as in: taking care of plants will help you slow down and take care of yourself, too. Behind the project are Lee Gu-reum and Jeong U-seong, a successful couple of designers and plant lovers who decided to put their knowledge at the service of anyone willing to try and grow plants or add a touch of green life to their home or office. Their picture-perfect showroom is a small natural and quiet oasis in the heart of the city, from where they ‘prescribe’ a slower lifestyle through beautiful plants. We spoke to Lee to find out more about the genesis of this unique concept.

Where does your love for the plants stem from?

LGR:The big impact seems to have come mostly from my childhood experiences and memories. Thanks to my parents who loved plants, we spent a lot of time in nature. I majored in graphic arts and came back to Korea to work as a graphic designer with an advertising company. I began pursuing this particular job with the idea to try and design and care for plants, which were my primary interest. I wanted to provide people with more opportunities to get closer to plants by combining design elements. At first, I designed the Moss Terrarium DIY Kit for the busy and fatigued people who ended up killing too many plants.
It was also meant to give people time to get away from their smartphones and computers to spend some time touching the earth. I believe that offering a product designed in a package which offered the soil and moss rather than selling them separately was the key to our success.

The concept of "Slow + Pharmacy" suggests a relationship between plants and health. How can growing and taking care of plants influence our lifestyle and change the way we spend our day?

LGR: At the time I created my brand name, I think I was leading a very busy life and had no time to sort out my thoughts. In the midst of such a life, I have experienced the natural healing of the mind in the slow action of observing and taking care of my life by growing plants, which are also forms of life.
I hope that other people stressed by city life will also be able to take some time away from their smartphones and nurture their plants, enjoying leisure time just like me. That is how I came up with the brand name Slow + Pharmacy. I believe that raising and caring for plants has a greater impact on our lives than most people think. When plants enter your space, the space gains its own life. In turn, we get a chance to step away from our daily lives, even if for a short moment, and to clear our heads and start observing plants.

Who are your average customers and what do they usually look for when entering your showroom?

LGR: Our customers are truly diverse. From young customers in their twenties to people in their sixties who love plants. Among them, we have a lot of office workers in their twenties and thirties.
Nowadays, most customers are looking for 'air purification plants' because of fine dust pollution. And they also look for plants that do not die easily.

What type of experiences and events do you offer in and out of the showroom?

LGR: In the showroom we are selling our favorite plants that are ideal in size and easy to grow at home or in the office. Outside the showroom, we run pop-up + exhibition type events about four times a year, each highlighting a concept.
For instance, we ran a pop-up store + exhibition event with the concept "air container." We filled a container box with plants and dirt and did a performance providing people with clean air.

So basically your goal is to help people embrace a slower lifestyle?

LGR: My favorite word is 'calm'. The attribute 'goodness' is intrinsic in the word 'calm'. I always remind myself of this, however, I believe it's an essential reminder for people living in big cities as well. At some point in life, we seem to get caught up in the fast pace of life and find no time to sort out our own thoughts. We are getting further and further away from listening to the sound inside us. We could really use some quiet time, even for a short while.

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