Savereign Plant Designs


When did you start making your plant fixtures? What brought about the idea to create this specific kind of product to use as home décor?

I started making the fixtures back in May of this year. I definitely was not the first person to use this technique to mount staghorn ferns up. I just chose a different way to do it so that it could be more appealing for indoor home décor. 


What is the hardest part about using a living thing as the main element in your creative process when you are designing and putting together a new piece?

Time and maintenance. I like to keep a stock of plants just in case I have a random show so I have the inventory I need. I used to go to the local nurseries by my house when I needed to make a random piece. I would just pop by and buy what I needed. Now that I'm doing shows more often and have my studio opening I have to buy bulk and all of that bulk needs constant watering and trimming which can take up a lot of time. 


How do you choose what kind of wood and what shape board to attach the plants to? Can you give us a little bit of insight into how you make these pieces? What steps are involved? How long does the entire process take to make each piece?

I had to choose a wood that was good about getting wet. I couldn't coat the wood in any harsh finishes that are water resistant. So I chose cedar. It's naturally rot resistant and smells amazing when it gets wet. The shapes I chose for the past couple shows have been inspired by old motel signs. A lot of rounded corners and sharp angles. It's all organic. I draw them up and cut them out.

Glue, cut, sand, and oil the wood, arrange the fern, mount it with string, hang, and enjoy. It's around a three- to four-day process. It's very much time consuming, but I love it.


There have been a lot of articles recently about how millennials seem to be obsessed with indoor plants. Do you agree? What about having plants in your living space do you enjoy? And more generally, why do you think young people are so interested in having plants in their homes now?

Yes! Plants are just aesthetically pleasing, and we are definitely in the age of aesthetics as being one of our main true identifiers. I also believe that having indoor plants fulfills that natural human longing for the outdoors. 

Plants naturally give off good energy, plus who doesn't like waking up to a huge monstera deliciosa (aka the Swiss cheese plant) or for me especially—a staghorn fern. Both of these plants are striking and give you—whether you think so or not—an overall good feeling when you see them, even if it's only for a split second. But sometimes that split second is just enough for you to start off your day with good vibes. Green is also one of my favorite colors, so it works. 

I thinks young people are using indoor plants as a way to substitute something for our natural connection to nature, allowing us to satisfy our yearning to be outside, even at the times when we aren't able to be.


Can you tell us a bit more about your own personal aesthetic when it comes to design? What are your favorite kinds of things to have in your space? What elements and kinds of décor make you feel comfortable in a room?

My personal aesthetic is very much eclectic. I like to the mix the old and the modern. I love tchotchke. I also like having a table full of stuff that might not have a purpose, but each piece has its own individual story. 

I took a look around my house and studio and I'm seeing a lot of plants and glass. Colored glass to be exact. Something about the way the sunlight hits the glass and the different colors are thrown around the room. This is very calming to me.


Finally, can you tell us which designers or creatives you find inspiration from when it comes to making your plant fixtures, or in designing your own personal spaces?

This is a hard question to answer as I have so many! The inspiration for my plant fixtures could honestly be anything. Weird shapes, signs, the way a plant drapes on a building, cartoons, the human figure, etc...

For my home, one of my biggest inspirations is Ilse Crawford. Her approach to interior design is exactly what I always believed it should be. More personal and close. It causes people to have to look up at the person they're talking to and not be on their phone. Hay (@haydesign) and Tom Dixon (@tomdixonstudio) are who I look at for forward thought in design. They both are very different in style, but they both do simplistic designs and use new and different materials regularly. I also get inspiration from photographers like Rankin (@rankinarchive). You should check out his series called Sofasosexy, it's really great, as he finds a way to sexualize a cheap couch, which proves to be rather comical. Artists I get inspiration from are Frank Kozik (@frankkozik) and Kaws (@kaws).


You can find more images of AJ's work or even order your own custom design by checking him out on Instagram.




AJ Arellano

AJ Arellano is a plant-loving artist and designer from Greenville, South Carolina. He makes custom plant fixtures and installations for homes and work spaces.