Marvz Conti’s creations are equal parts ethereal and quirky science experiment—a pinch of moss specimen seemingly suspended inside a glass pendant, a tiny ecosystem in a clear light bulb, greens and driftwood carefully arranged under a cloche, and a lively wall-mounted moss décor.
Conti’s interest in plants stemmed from his passion for making things by hand. This penchant for DIY was further fueled when, in 2013, Conti visited Escolta’s then monthly art fair called Saturday x Future Market (which has since evolved into HUB: Make Lab, a venue that caters to local grassroots brands). He applied for a slot, got accepted, and launched Hábil Crafts. As the brand grew, Conti ultimately decided to quit his day job “just a few months ago,” he relates.
Slowly but surely
Starting out with only a few handmade pieces, like a lamp made out of wooden clothespins, Conti eventually focused on plants as a means of creating inspiring spaces and, perhaps more importantly, connecting with nature.
“I think as humans, we have this innate tendency to seek connection with nature,” he says. He first ventured into succulents and tillandsias (or air plant) before working with moss, which Conti says is a very flexible material. Mosses, he adds, are also easy to care for, making them perfect for indoor decoration.
Leaving his day job for Hábil was risky, Conti admits, but the leap he took paid off. This “green” entrepreneur has already collaborated with big local brands like Jollibee. Opportunities for residential and commercial projects also came knocking on his door.
Growing a green thumb
Conti encourages everyone to “bring the outside in” by trying out decorating with plants. For starters, it is important to consider one’s space and how to maximize it. “You also need to consider how much room and light you have in a particular area,” he advises.
But do you really need a green thumb to successfully care for plants? “A green thumb is nothing more than experience. You won’t get one without trying and trying,” he replies.
Begin your green thumb journey with easy-to-care-for plants, says Conti, like pothos (also called devil’s ivy) as it thrives in both soil and water, and is also adaptable to various lighting conditions. Snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is a succulent that does not need meticulous care. Tillandsias are also ideal.
“You can mount or place them in any vessel like a glass or wood as long as there is good air circulation and bright indirect or filtered light. You can water them through either the misting or soaking technique,” Conti relates.
If you want to be on trend for the coming year, go for big, leafy plants like selloum and monstera, adds Conti. Ferns will also be big, as they create an elegant statement whether placed indoors or outdoors. It is, of course, important to do one’s research on how to properly care for these plant varieties.
As a way to share his passion with others, Conti occasionally holds workshops (check out Hábil’s Facebook page and Instagram account for updates). He is also excited to create more moss installations for clients. And as Conti looks forward to growing Hábil, he makes sure to stay focused on what inspired him to pursue this flourishing journey: “The things that we do in Hábil is grounded on the ethos of biophilia—that is, to reconnect people with nature in every possible aspect that is within our capabilities,” he concludes.
Inspired to create your own green home? Check out Avida Land and find your own space to cultivate that green thumb.
All photos courtesy of Marvz Conti and Hábil Crafts.