Michieli Floriculture explains to INTERNI how, with Tillandsia, he creates solutions for installations with an important scenographic impact and, at the same time, extremely sustainable

Even decorative installations with maximum visual impact, those that we usually define as 'instagrammable' – that is proof of the social network in which the image reigns supreme – can wink at an anti-waste consumption style.

The Tillandsia, the company explains to us Agricola Michieli Floriculture specialized in the production and cultivation of this fascinating plant, it is versatile, simple to manage because it requires almost no maintenance and is extremely sustainable. Its life cycle can be defined without limits, because every time it is chosen to give life to a decorative creation it can then be disassembled and re-used to create new compositions .

Among the benefits attributable to Tillandsia there is also the positive influence on the air we breathe: a study is being published by the University of Bari Aldo Moro promoted by Paolo Michieli, owner of the Michieli Floriculture farm, which highlights how Tillandsia is able to absorb the pollutants present in the air - VOC ( volatile organic compounds) – thus proposing itself as a filter for the purification of environments. In an interview, Paolo Michieli and Roberta Filippini tell us more about this special plant.

What is Tillandsia, where does it come from and what are its beneficial properties for those who choose it?

Tillandsia are plants belonging to the Bromeliads family. In their natural state, they are found in the American continent, in territories ranging from the rainy tropical forests, to the desert areas of some regions of South America, passing also through the Andean highlands.

They are plants of great decorative value, for their beauty and great variety of shapes, for their exceptional flowering and because they are intriguing specimens. Since almost all of the species have no need for a substrate (loam), in order to live and develop they absorb the nourishment and water they need through the leaves.

They are tropical, perennial plants, with blooms in exotic colors and low maintenance.

What can be done starting from a small Tillandsia?

Tillandsia by itself is an element that lends itself well to furnishing the environments we inhabit with a touch of living nature.

Not needing a substrate to live, they can simply be placed or inserted into different supports, maximizing their unique beauty. It can also be used individually or as a compositional element within more structured creations.

Why do we talk about second (third and beyond) life of Tillandsia?

First of all, because when the plant flowers it gives life to other shoots which will then become independent plants. From there you can decide whether to separate them or leave them as a group: over the years and with good maintenance, incredible living nature sculptures will be born.

Not needing land to live on, Tillandsia lend themselves perfectly to being the protagonists of both permanent and temporary arrangements. As regards the latter, the solutions are prompt effect and extremely sustainable, as the plants used can then be hospitalized in the nursery and subsequently reused for new installations.

Are there other similar plants in terms of characteristics and benefits?

Like Tillandsia there are none. Today there are more than 600 species and it is the most numerous genus of the Bromeliad family, which in nature occupy a vast geographical area of Latin America.

Living in very different environments, the original plant has been able to evolve assuming characteristics (shape, color, density of trichomes and blooms) that are very different from time to time.

We saw Tillandsia as the protagonist of the 'Green Wave' installation during INTERNI's FuoriSalone 2022: what was its continuation of life after the installation was dismantled?

Every time we approach a project we love to write a story, a story of relationships with people, with the place, responding to the theme to which we are called according to the principles of nature, design and sustainability.

And it is precisely here that the Tillandsia WALL Green Wave has taken on even more significance, linking itself to the theme of Design Re-generation proposed this year by Interni. For the occasion, we have created a large and dynamic green wave, bringing Nature as the protagonist.

The absent need for maintenance together with the flowering of the Tillandsia Ionantha, which gradually enlivened the work with accents of living nature , made the show a crescendo of beauty until the day of the dismantling. After the dismantling we admitted the 14757 Tillandsias in the greenhouses of Michieli Floricoltura, which were then transformed into further compositions and made protagonists of many new stories .

For instance:

  • During the month of September, the Tillandsia themselves took part in the installation together with the Panariagroup in Piazza Vecchia in Bergamo Alta on the occasion of the Landscape Festival Masters of the landscape. A 360-degree sustainable installation, this time the Tillandisa arranged vertically gave birth to Tillandsia WALL Screen, a scenography of living nature to best highlight the Panariagroup ceramics and their great attention to sustainability, creating well-being in harmony with people and the environment by focusing on research and innovation, aiming to satisfy the high expectations of well-being and aesthetics of private or professional clients, both in construction and in architecture.
  • Some of the Tillandsia Ionantha have instead become compositional elements of the Tillandsia WALL tree, shapes that recall the shapes of trees, whose bases were modeled by the skilled hands of the sculptor camuno Arturo Belfiore Mondoni to then be completed with the crowns by Paolo Michieli.
  • Others have traveled miles captivating audiences in multiple cities. After an interlude at Villa Erba on Lake Como where they recreated an enchanted wood for the 'Groncioli di fiaba' Orticolario, they arrived in Naples, guests of the first EDI GLOBAL FORUM and now permanent contemporary works of art at the Morra Greco Foundation in which design, art and nature create a harmonious game.

How do you keep a Tillandsia at home? And where could we place it? Can you suggest us a useful and impactful private use?

Since almost all of the species have no need for a substrate (loam), in order to live and develop they absorb the nourishment they need and the water they need through the leaves.

For good maintenance, we recommend placing the Tillandsias in a area bright, not in direct sunlight, away from heat sources or air conditioners. If kept at home, it is advisable to immerse the plant completely for a few minutes in room temperature water every 10/15 days or to wet it abundantly under the tap, leaving it to dry before relocating it.

It is recommended to fertilize it every 3 or 4 months with a very diluted orchid fertilizer (about 1/4 or 1/5 of the dose recommended on the label), from spring to autumn it can live outside as long as it is shadow.

The Michieli Floriculture company produces and cultivates its Tillandsias in large quantities and different sizes on the farm, to satisfy every customer request.

A particularly intriguing compositional solution is: Tillandsia WALL Breathing Cloud, a format that enhances the traditional vertical garden with silver-green streaks and unexpected color accents, different textures given by foliage of different shapes and scales given precisely by the Tillandsia, which is shaped and taking up the shapes of the clouds creates a green garden in three dimensions, able to improve the quality of the air and the environments, according to the principles of biophilic design.

A work of art of living nature, a product of Michieli Floriculture, design by Paolo Michieli & Roberta Filippini, in which the compositional element is represented by tillandsia, plants with great decorative value, with beneficial properties, as they absorb part of the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) through their leaves ) improve the quality of the air and the environment in which they will be placed.

How do you maintain it instead when you choose it for a more structured project? For example for a green wall or to create a work of art for an event?

The vertical gardens can be both temporary and permanent and always made to measure, in fact they can be created on any type of surface. As we said, they need very little - almost nothing - maintenance. That's why they are ideal for quick-effect installations, and offer a sustainable solution from an economic but also an ecological point of view: the plants are always recovered.

The innovative proposal by Michieli Floricoltura is called TillandsiaWALL: temporary or fixed, with immediate effect and applicable on any type of surface. Within the Michieli Floriculture company, a multidisciplinary team coordinated by Paolo Michieli, owner of the company and expert connoisseur of the tillandsia he himself cultivates, and Roberta Filippini, an architect with decades of experience in the field of landscaping, carefully follows the entire development of Tillandsia WALL: from its conception, to the choice and supply of plants, up to the realization and installation.