Miami, FL – November 29, 2016 – In celebration of Art Basel week, Rimowa and Island Planning Corporation (IPC) joined forces for the opening reception of “A Marriage of Travel and Design, Luxury and Sustainability.” Nathan Browning knows all about travel and luxury. As the founder and creative force behind Island Planning Corporation, a Miami-based design firm that has worked in 38 countries (on projects ranging from luxe resorts in the Alps to urban design in equatorial Africa), he is constantly on the move. “We build durable, sustainable, luxurious landscapes all over the world,” Browning says of his company’s far-flung creative collaborations with brands such as Aman Resorts and Cheval Blanc. “These projects are often very rugged experiences so having the right equipment is key. There is an interesting parallel between what we do at IPC and Rimowa, a company that’s known for its sleek style and durability.” The resulting capsule collection for Rimowa — elegant botanical etchings on aluminum cases — refer to Nathan’s travels to Gabon, Sao Tome, and Kenya in Africa over the past 8 years. These explorations, Browning adds, have not only yielded a vast array of botanical species for IPC’s design projects but also offered him a unique insight into the future of luxury. “More than ever there’s a real synergy between luxury and sustainability,” Browning notes. “You can’t really have one without the other.”
World Red Eye stole a moment from Browning during the busy week, who gave us a closer look into Island Planning Corporation’s collaboration with Rimowa, and what his company brings to the design world.
WRE: Tell us about your event with Rimowa during this year’s Art Basel?
NB: The event was to honor the design collaboration between Island Planning Corporation and Rimowa in appreciation of travel and exploration.
WRE: Can you tell us more about what you are presenting at the event?
NB: IPC installed large trees and palms in the Rimowa Miami Design District store giving it a jungle motif. The capsule collection of Rimowa aluminum cases are engraved with botanical images that I have photographed on my travels.
Island Planning Corporation often designs/builds projects by creating nurseries to grow the species we need and to transplant large tree specimens that most landscape designers would not consider using.
Nathan Browning, Principal of Island Planning Corporation
WRE: You are admired for breaking the traditional role of landscape. In what ways do you step outside of the landscape-design boundaries?
NB: Most landscape designers/architects provide little more than designs on paper. We always identify a strategy to create value on our projects through proper environmental engineering. Island Planning Corporation often designs/builds projects by creating nurseries to grow the species we need and to transplant large tree specimens that most landscape designers would not consider using. We design projects based on the principles of value—values that can be explained to the most shrewd developer—and then we make sure it gets done by any means necessary. We pride ourselves in the “doing”.
WRE: As a Miami native, what has it been like being a part of the Miami Design District transformation as the master-planner for landscape in the district?
NB: It’s an honor to be a part of designing a landmark in our city. We feel that one of the identities of the Miami Design District is the mature park-like feel of the tree canopied streets and roof top gardens.
WRE: What led you to having a passion for landscape designing?
NB: I love nature and I love design.
WRE: What does “sustainability” mean to you?
NB: One can only speak in terms of elements of sustainability as no project is actually sustainable in the true sense of the word. Sustainable to me is designing a project that makes sense, getting the project built with the right people, and then seeing it grow, function, and flourish for many years. It should minimize its impact on the planet, help in all aspects possible, and set an example for other people to follow.
WRE: Can you elaborate on the idea of the inseparable synergy between luxury and sustainability?
NB: In the modern day most people that can afford luxury are intelligent enough to know that there needs to be more to the story then just an item or experience being expensive. Luxury needs to send a message of sustainability in order for it to appeal to the majority of luxury consumers. At least I hope we are there.
WRE: Is there any advice you can give out there to young designers who might aspire to do what you do currently?
NB: Find someone you admire and apprentice for them.
WRE: How do you go about developing your unique visions for each property you work on?
NB: Research, exploration, and rational.
WRE: What would be your dream project for Island Planning Corporation?
NB: A museum.
WRE: Tell us something about landscape designers that most people would not know?
NB: It’s the most misunderstood field written about.