Perennial Institute
Plants are our teachers




The Perennial Institute is an experimental education project exploring creativity through the lens of plants. Based in Berlin, we follow seasonal creative cues including a period of dormancy from January to April each year until better cultural conditions present themselves in Spring and Summer. We are always delighted by new opportunities to expand our explorations into gardens, kitchens, galleries and homes around the world.

Berlin Summer program

In 2018, over a 6 day program, artists and designers from Europe, America, Brazil and Australia gathered in Berlin. Plants were our teachers and our classrooms were the parks and gardens of the city. We engaged in co-learning, co-creation, and collaboration through cooking, scent distillation and urban foraging. While forest bathing, wild ikebana and memory drawing provided emphasis on embodied experiences, experiential learning, feminine and intuitive approaches . At the completion of the program offerings were made and given to local plants.

Participants: Akasha Lawrence-Spence, Anais Hazo, Caique Tizzi, Emma Theyers, Eva Kozanecka, Leo Ayres, Lilia Luganskaia, Jessica Herman, Kristy Millikin, Maria Kozanecka, Whitney Flores.

Project leads: Jai McKenzie, Julka Almquist.


Sensory Tuning

Day 1: Sensory Tuning in Tiergarten followed by Scent Distillation with Scent Club Berlin & Tobias Esselborn.

The program commenced by tuning into our bodies, our senses and the plants around us through Shoring-yoku (forest bathing) in Tiergarten park. Olfactory sensations were explored through a scent distillation workshop. From these activities emerged an improvised, collaborative exploration of scent production which resulted in the transformation of Basil plants into ‘Corn Farmer’ a fragrance with an evocative backstory.

Botanical garden exploration

Botanical garden exploration

Seeing with new eyes

Day 2: Urban Foraging and Cookery at Contemporary Food Lab
Urban foraging in Hasenheide Park and cookery with Andrew Rewald

Day 3: Berlin Botanical Garden.
Floriography with Lilia Luganskaia and Memory Drawing with Shota Nakamura

Urban foraging and a botanical garden tours allowed particpants to see with new eyes and gain a fresh awareness of surrounding plants. With this new awareness we collaboratively cooked foraged plants from Hasenheide park while sharing personal stories about food.



Day 4: Arranging at Floating University Berlin
Urban Ikebana with Martina Della Valle and Satoko Hatayama


Plant creativity Cards

Participants were given a pack of plant creativity cards that encouraged creative engagement with plants through empathy, observation, movement, senses and arrangement exercises.


Day 6: Offering
Offerings at Tempelhofer field and a reading collage at Zabriskie Bookstore

Urban Ikebana at Floating University Berlin

Urban Ikebana at Floating University Berlin

An offering

At the completion of the program participants were invited to make an offering back to nature and plant life.

Day 5: Making at Prinzessinnengarten
A day for creating offerings back to plants


Read the Perennial Institute Summer Reading List posted by Book/Shop Oakland and an interview in Trend Tablet by Jessica Herman.

Photography by Lilia Luganskaia