Living Art

Michael Skaff’s extraordinary works quite literally breathe new life into Savannah’s spaces.

Michael Skaff’s work caught my attention before I even knew his name. On a recent visit to the Peregrine rooftop bar at the Perry Lane Hotel, a wall of foxtail ferns, cascading variegated ivy, brilliant red bromeliads and crimson-tipped succulents bloomed around a wooden sign bearing the bar’s name. “This wall was made for Instagram,” I thought, the succulents’ trim coordinating with the lava-like explosions of bromeliads, the sage-colored ivy falling over the planter boxes just so.

Of course, I snapped a picture, succumbing to the effect of the kind of experiential marketing that Skaff has honed throughout his career — a skill for designing plantscapes that create a feeling of place.

   

The son of a visual merchandiser, Skaff knew at an early age that he wanted to work with plants. “Every kid in a family is different. My sister is still trying to figure out what she wants to do, but I was one of those kids who always, from the age of five, had an instinct that I would be in the plant industry. I never gave it a second thought.”

His career has taken a vine-like path through the world of plants. He owned his own flower shop and interior plant company in Massachusetts. He served as a vice president of design and merchandising at FTD Companies, Inc., one of the leading floral companies in the U.S. He worked for conservatories and greenhouses and floral distributors. And oh yeah, he designed the plantscapes for three presidential inaugurations and the 75th Academy Awards.

So, what’s next in floral design? Skaff let South readers in on some trends to watch. Expect to see lots of forest greens, organic shapes and even fungi over the next few years. What’s next for Skaff? He’ll be transforming plant design in Savannah, one hotel lobby and office building at a time.  See how he’s accomplishing that at savannahinteriorplantdesigns.com.

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