Plants + Creativity = Beautiful Biophilic Projects and Partnerships

Good Earth Plant Company maximized the use of overhead space, or "overhead moments." Photo: Joe Benedetti biophilic projects plants creativity

We love working with our clients to enrich their lives with plants at Good Earth Plant Company. We’ve had the opportunity to work in a variety of industries and branched out beyond our home base in San Diego.

We also love working with talented partners in the design community who bring the vision of their clients to life and ask for our help when including plants and other nature-inspired elements. This didn’t used to be all that common for us, but as the projects become more complex and push boundaries, we help architects, landscape architects, interior designers, graphic designers, and other artists to add plants with the best chance of thriving as well as looking beautiful.

The talented GTC Design team. Photo: GTC Design / Instagram

The talented GTC Design team. Photo: GTC Design / Instagram

Recently we worked with the team at GTC Design. Based in San Diego, GTC stands for “Good Times Creative.”  GTC Design describes itself as a creative firm providing architectural design, permit drawings, rendering services, and design consultation. GTC Design called in Good Earth Plant Company to partner on a new project in Oceanside at The Brick Hotel including its Q&A Oyster Bay and rooftop bar and lounge, Coco Cabana. We truly enjoyed the process, and the results exceeded our expectations.

We talked with GTC Design owner and founder Nuwan Ranasinghe and Director of Operations Maxeen Gomez to learn more about their business and their work, and we wanted to share it with our blog readers.

GTC Design Keeps Growing

Plants were styled in different presentation styles to create the feeling of being in a lush jungle environment. Photo: Jim Mumford plants creativity

Plants were styled in different presentation elements to create the feeling of being in a lush jungle environment. Photo: Jim Mumford

Nuwan started GTC Design five years ago, focusing on hospitality projects Business has broadened from restaurants like Coco Cabana to hotels and apartment buildings. Maxeen joined the business part-time in 2018 and full-time in 2020 to work on project management as GTC Design keeps growing.

Hospitality clients are approaching design with more freedom because of the pandemic. “Honestly, I think they’ve been a little bit more free post pandemic” including their budget for design to compete for business,” says Nuwan. “I mean, they made it through that. They’re trying to see what other opportunities they have to stand out and survive since the market is pretty saturated in terms of restaurants.”

The Coco Cabana lounge high above downtown Oceanside, California. Photo: Jim Mumford

The Coco Cabana lounge high above downtown Oceanside, California. Photo: Jim Mumford

The Brick Hotel/Q&A/Coco Cabana project is an ideal example. “With this particular restaurant group, they like to go plant forward because the concept is jungle-like. So, we were on the hunt for people that could supply plants, maintain them, things like that,” and found Good Earth Plant Company.

Bringing The Project to Life With Plants

Good Earth Plant Company made use of natural materials for the Coco Cabana project. Photo: Jim Mumford plants creativity

Good Earth Plant Company made use of natural materials for the Coco Cabana project. Photo: Jim Mumford

Nuwan said the restaurant client wanted to balance chic with comfort for an elevated “casual vibe.” The jungle ecosystem of Tulum, Mexico was the inspiration for the beachfront location. “We knew that we just had to do more and choose plants that were resilient to the sun and the wind. We wanted to go with succulents, and we just kind of worked with our initial visualization team, helping them understand that we need kind of those types of plants and where we want plants.”

Then it was up to our Good Earth Plant Company team and lead designer Rachel Hecathorn to bring it to life. Using the overhead space played a big role in creating the jungle vibe.

Good Earth Plant Company maximized the use of overhead space, or "overhead moments." Photo: Joe Benedetti biophilic projects

Good Earth Plant Company maximized the use of overhead space, or “overhead moments.” Photo: Joe Benedetti

“You guys fed off of that and recommended things that were better than what we initially visualized,” said Nuwan. “Since we are on a rooftop. It’s kind of like bringing the scale of the ceiling down the sky down. And it’s nice that it’s organic and it always is kind of ever changing. Even the last time I went there, (the plants) are a good two to three feet longer.”

Now that the Oceanside restaurant is looking so good, the owners told GTC Design they intend to reinvest in more and better plants at their downtown location. Good Earth Plant Company will be ready!

Designs Incorporating Nature

plants creativity

The feeling of the outdoor spaces at the upstairs bar is carried inside the downstairs restaurant. Photo: Jim Mumford

Nuwan says in the post-pandemic era, and with more attention to environmental issues, more clients are willing to build nature into their designs.

“It’s kind of a necessary part to communicate the design effectively … it’s a completely different product if it doesn’t have the plants. Because they’re so organic, it’s kind of like an ever-changing part of the design that it never gets old. It’s kind of cool how it keeps adapting and changing and changing.”

Colorful planters introduced artistic elements along with the plants. Photo: Jim Mumford biophilic projects

Colorful planters introduced artistic elements along with the plants. Photo: Jim Mumford

Nuwan and Maxeen report their client loves the results. “Better than we imagined is the ultimate compliment, right?”

We’re enthusiastic about GTC Design’s next project, the renovation of a former Denny’s restaurant at the corner of Mission and Garnet in Pacific Beach by the former owner of the Slaters 5050 restaurant.

Booths are divided by wood planters on the Coco Cabana rooftop lounge. Photo: Jim Mumford biophilic projects plants creativity

Booths are divided by wood planters on the Coco Cabana rooftop lounge. Photo: Jim Mumford

“It’s a very prominent corner. We kept the main building but then deconstructed a lot of it. There’s a lot of big planters on the outside kind of like shade structures, like Coco Cabana, but it’s more steel with a lot of drapey plants on it. It’s actually going to be seven fast casual concepts, all run from one kitchen. And it has like a big outdoor dining area,” said Nuwan.

We look forward to working with GTC Design again and with the many talented artists in the design community. It’s a privilege to bring your vision for your client projects to life.

If we can enrich your projects with plants, we’d love to hear from you at dan@goodearthplants.com or 858-576-9300. Yes, we take old fashioned phone calls too!