As you walk into The Plant Studio you are greeted by the sound of jazz music, the smell of fresh potted plants combined with exposed woodworking and the owner asking if you would like to stay for a cup of tea and a chat.
After moving to Baton Rouge from Detroit, owner James Curtis had no idea what to expect when he arrived. After visiting downtown, he knew that there was opportunity for him to grow his design business, Outside Stimuli, and later create The Plant Studio, the newest plant shop in downtown Baton Rouge.
“It felt like it was the perfect place that I could add something to the eclectic history that Baton Rouge has,” Curtis said.
Growing up in the projects of Detroit, Curtis remembers always coming home to a space full of plants that his mother cared for. For Curtis, his plant-filled home served as a sanctuary from the craziness of his outside world.
As a naturally creative person, Curtis was amidst a juxtaposition of wanting to go out into the world and find ways to be creative, or make something and go home to a comfortable place to escape the city.
With The Plant Shop, he hopes to create an open and inviting atmosphere similar to the sanctuary of his childhood home.
“You grow up, and you forget about those key things when you’re younger. And then you get older, and you realize that those key things are time capsules that you think back to some of the best times and to your foundation. And there are things that are dying to come out,” Curtis said.
In his design and plant work, Curtis aims to bring the outdoors inside through biophilic design. He creates furniture and plant décor that helps bring nature into homes and offices.
“With that idea, I really wanted to help make things that made spaces feel the way they should feel when you’re trying to work and live or learn in them. They’re comfortable and more productive,” Curtis said.
Curtis says that finding the right plant is about two things—style and fit—and that style is an opinion while fit is a fact. The Plant Studio by Outside Stimuli is here to help you achieve both.
“You can have your own kind of style, but it has to fit and that’s a fact,” Curtis said.
Ultimately, the plants are a metaphor for Curtis’ goals for the business. He hopes to use plants and nature to cultivate the city.
“No matter from what walks of life you are; no matter what color you are; your spirituality; where you’re from; I wanted a space where everyone feels connected and where everyone can be a part of something,” Curtis said.
The Plant Studio is located downtown at 207 Florida Street and is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.