When Wenlai Yun, Ravin Sachithananthan and Amos Chan came up with the idea for their landscaping consultancy business Multipots KL late last year, no one could have foreseen how critical their input would be. Their niche of designing and creating garden spaces for high-rise living is a service that will grow in demand as we spend more time at home.
“In our respective cities of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Shanghai, we all reside in condominiums and something we’ve always noticed is that a lot of people don’t quite know what to do with their balconies,” Yun begins. “That’s when it occurred to us to start an interior landscaping consultancy with the specific aim of assisting those in high-rise condos to create beautiful green spaces that work for them and their lifestyles.”
Multipots gets its name from a basic element for greenery to thrive — soil in a pot. Condo living means that shrubbery cannot draw nutrients from the ground, and relies instead on good-quality pots that help it grow. What Yun and his team provide is more than just a pretty pot, however — the process includes multiple visits to the client’s home, researching the homeowner’s lifestyle and finding out details such as the orientation of the home in relation to the sun. Only then does Multipots bring in the plants and pots.
“‘Bring life back to space’ is the philosophy behind our firm,” Chan explains. “The idea of new nature — a hybrid of both wild (natural) and the cultivated (man-made) — that can flourish in our homes and cities, but needs our help. It requires us to lose the idea that nature exists apart from us and embrace the reality that nature in the future will require our design and management.”
The three are old friends who reconnect in their hometown of KL as often as their travel schedules allow. Yun is based in Malaysia and manages the logistics and procurement part of the business. From Singapore, Ravin manages the business side of things while artistic director Chan, who is trained in landscaping and horticulture, lives in Shanghai. Over dinner last December, the trio decided to put their passion project to work. Coincidentally, earlier this year, many companies were starting to take precautionary measures and began encouraging staff to work from home.
“Amos and I were meant to be in KL quite often to work on growing the business, but what’s happened this year has kept us grounded in our respective cities,” Ravin says. “We’ve used that opportunity the best we can — people are going to be spending more time at home even after the Movement Control Order (MCO) is lifted, and there will be homeowners who will want to make the best of their neglected balconies or even consider the idea of indoor gardens. It can seem very intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing, which is where we step in.
“We are pretty small-scale, so we had time to think about details, go through some iterations from logistics to aesthetic aspects, and put some thought into it. That will become our niche. The impact of big projects can sometimes be short-lived, so we think it’s more powerful to do small things consistently well,” Ravin adds.
So far, Multipots has completed two projects — one in Shanghai, and Yun’s own balcony garden in KL. A few others were postponed because of the MCO, but work has since resumed. “The plan for the future is to establish a Multipots KL showroom, which will allow us to properly showcase our aesthetic,” Yun says. “We are looking for a space with a nice community feel, a lot of natural light and plenty of room, so potential and existing customers have an idea of what we can do for them, or even shop for a few more items for their space, which we can curate for them.”
Check out their instagram here or engage their service via 03 62053399. This article first appeared in issue No. 96, Summer 2020 of Haven.