When I came across the image above, I was arrested. It might have been the rust colored, mid-century velvet sectional, seemingly at odds with an outdoor setting; perhaps it was the towering ferns that created the Avatar-like canopy above it or the contrast of the lush greenery punctuated by the tawny red accents. It was likely the combination of all of these elements that struck me as otherworldly and I confess, it stopped me dead in my tracks.
I like being surprised by design, particularly in the garden. Designing a beautiful indoor space presents it's own challenges, yet feels somewhat more natural or familiar. But taming an unruly garden can sometimes seem like an entirely new frontier altogether, akin to the wild west. We are after all, working with living, breathing species out there, coaching and cajoling them into performing the way we need them to in order to achieve our overall design plan. Considering that, it's even more remarkable when you see results as in the image above.
But the story behind the designer is just as surprising as the landscapes he designs. Art Luna has long been a top LA hairstylist to A-List celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Diane Lane and Kirsten Dunst, who have visited his Santa Monica salon since opening in 1995. Looking to make his salon unique, he blended his love of gardening with his business and created an lush waiting area on the patio garden outside his back doors. As he grew his salon business, his celebrity clientele would bring him gardening books and accompany him to local nurseries where he cultivated his expertise in garden design. He also attended lectures and took inspiration through travel, visiting some of the great gardens in Europe. He used his own home garden as a testing ground for hard to find exotics and began honing his own style.
Eventually, he was hired by Beverly Hills socialites and salon clients to transform large expanses of untamed hillside properties where eventually, he developed his signature aesthetic: indoor-outdoor living that is exotic, free-flowing, yet structured with a touch of flamboyance.
He officially opened his own design studio, Art Luna Garden, and now grooms remarkable gardens for the same celebrity roster that visits his renown salon.
Talk about reinvention.
|Luna uses unexpected elements in his designs. Here, crystals take shade underneath a canopy of Japanese Maples.|
For more photos + inspiration from Lisa Eisner's garden (top image), check out these articles: