Today, I’m über excited to introduce you to the latest addition of a specialist shop in London. Conservatory Archives is a plant shop like no other I’ve encountered.
Opened just before Christmas 2015, owners Jin and Giacomo are currently working on their website. Unfortunately for now you’ll have to take a trip there but boy will you be pleasantly surprised and rather overwhelmed with so much beauty, integrity and discernment.
So what will you find there? Well, if you’re after the usual plant suspects, you’ll find a few of those. Mostly there are unique beauties, be it extra large cacti, airplants and monsteras. You’ll find many small succulents for terrariums, some very rare species obtained from real plant collectors. There are vintage pots and some furniture. The choice and selection is truly breathtaking and you can see the discerning eye. I didn’t know where to look first and I felt that I was in a place where someone knew their craft.
Meet Jin, who tamed my curiosity.
What’s your background? I’m originally from Seoul, where I studied graphic design and also worked as a fashion designer. I came to the UK 5 years ago to study English in Edinburgh, where I met Giacomo. Then I went on to Chelmsford to get a BSc (honour) in Horticulture. Last year we came to London and planned this shop.
What’s the idea? When studying Horticulture, most students focused on landscape gardening. I knew I wanted to work with an ‘indoor garden’. I come from a big city (Seoul) so living with indoor plants in a big city really fascinates me.
Why the name ‘Conservative Archive’? When we took the lease for this shop we knew it used to be london’s oldest ironmongers. A raw and wonderful space. We sadly couldn’t keep the shop facade without painting it due to bare wood not weathering well in London. It ended up looking like a conservatory. There have been pop-up shops here since the ironmongers closed. We plan to stay indefinitely, hence the word ‘archive’.
Do you collect anything? Except for everything to do with plants, I love collecting bric-a-brac, animal figurines, Dieter Rams’ Audio players for Braun. We love going to flea markets and antique markets. I love sourcing containers, pots and anything that will house a plant.
Tell me about the vintage furniture here in the shop! Giacomo and I both love vintage furniture. We have quite a large collection back in Italy, where Giacomo is from. Slowly we’re hoping to bring bits over. We love mid-century furniture and often source form Sweden and Denmark.
Where do you source your unique plants from? Oh, anywhere and everywhere. Our favourite thing is to get into our van and drive to the middle of nowhere where a plant collector hopefully will sell us his beauties. Often they don’t want to part with them. We go literally anywhere.
This will be my go to shop for anything plant related. I bought the most beautiful and unique cactus which no doubt will be featured in another post! Jin, it was such a pleasure to meet you. I cannot wait to return. Now I just need a bigger flat!
Oh, I have it on good authority that there will be coffee served there soon.
493-495 Hackney Road
Open: Tuesday -Sunday
11.00 am -7.00pm