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In the Garden with Sirak

Sirak is a Los Angeles-based design studio helmed by Adam Sirak, specializing in exterior and landscape projects. With a mission to cultivate gardens – inside and out – the designer began by creating original outdoors spaces for living and entertaining, but now extends his approach by unveiling a collection of sculptural vessels for plant specimens. 

“Adding Sirak to the list of represented designers at R HUGHES signals an expansion for the showroom as we begin to usher the beauty of the outdoors into our homes. Adam’s approach seems simple: nature provides serenity, so why not include it in our interior plans? And yet, more often than not, we have not seen it executed with this level of refinement within most sophisticated spaces.. Sirak provides that elevated solution.”

sirak garden 1

R HUGHES: Was Sirak a company conceived and birthed during the pandemic? How did that influence the way you approached the business? 

ADAM SIRAK: Yes and no. Although the first collection – Series 1 – was introduced right before the pandemic hit, the journey of creating and bringing them to life started years before. The genesis of the pieces actually started with me in my woodshop making molds and mixing concrete, sketching hundreds, if not thousands of drawings, and just letting the ideas take shape. It was a long (and messy) process but I think that’s how creativity works. It rarely arrives like a bolt of lightning. 

As terrifying and sad as the pandemic was I think it offered fresh perspective too. For me, that was a reminder not to rush and just design for the love of what I wanted to see in the world and what I would be satisfied with even if I never sold a piece. 

sirak garden 2

RH: Your two collections are inspired by Greco-Roman shapes…when did you become enthralled with these cultures? How do they continue to inspire you? 

AS: Where do I begin? I think it goes back to that old adage that if you want to know the way forward look to the past. The ideas those civilizations produced are still reverberating through almost all aspects of modern culture. When I look at the level of beauty and sophistication in their architecture, art and philosophy it gives me a sense of wonder that could almost be described as divine. 

sirak garden 3

RH: Where did your love of gardens extend from?

AS: I’m from Miami and I feel very fortunate to have grown up in South Florida where nature is a very unique, sublime form of beauty. Both my parents are also landscape designers so it was constant from a very early age between working in their personal garden, which I consider a masterpiece, to trips to nurseries to weekends in the Everglades. It was always rare palms, rare orchids, big houses and gardens, and while I didn’t know it at the time it made a very deep impression on me. 

sirak garden 4

RH: What design problem are you trying to solve? 

AS: The thing that I think is incredible about a plant is that it does something to a room that no other piece can. You can have the absolute best of everything in a room – and then you add a plant and suddenly the energy changes and everything seems more elevated because it’s alive. The problem is what do you put the plant in that’s going to hang with the best of everything? That’s what I’m after. 

sirak garden

RH: You were previously in the fashion industry during your 12 years of living in New York. How does that fashion industry experience inform your design choices? 

AS: Fashion isn’t really about clothes. Clothes are just the medium. What Fashion is really about is how to create illusion and desire. Those are the big lessons I learned and I took those and applied them to the art of making gardens. I think that’s why my work has resonated with clients because my gardens aren’t about this or that plant – the plants are just the medium. What they’re really about is emotions and memories and feelings. 

sirak garden vignette nyc

RH: How does your experience as a landscape architect/artist impact your designs?

AS: Most importantly, I think it grounds the designs to reality. So much of my landscape work is done on-site and in the field that I’m designing the planters as a response to specific design challenges that arise on any project. The shapes and dimensions aren’t just purely cosmetic or hypothetical. They’re intended as a set of tools for Design Professionals. 

sirak garden vignette

RH: What inspired the debut collection given that it’s modular? Why was that important to you? What does that mean for designers?

AS: This allows the designer almost complete control over the height or volume depending on what the space calls for. Sometimes you need something tall and dramatic to fill the space and other times it just needs to sit quietly behind the sofa. 

The other important aspect is it allows for a much easier installation. The individual segments can be carried into place avoiding the need for a huge crew or equipment. 

sirak orion garden

RH: You are based in LA with vast and varied landscapes. How have your West Coast surroundings form your design perspective? 

AS: California is one of the most biologically diverse places on earth and incidentally one of only five Mediterranean climates on the planet. I draw an analogy between the diversity of the plant palettes that thrive here and the mix of ancient cultures that thrived in the actual Mediterranean basin so long ago. 

sirak artifact

RH: What is inspiring your next series? 

AS: This fall I’m taking a trip through Andalucia to study the Islamic gardens and palace couryards of Southern Spain. I’m traveling solo with my pens and sketchpad and I’m there to capture some of the beauty and mystery of that world. 

sirak future perfect house

RH: What piece was the most technically challenging? What was the most emotionally challenging?

AS: Oh, they’ve all been challenging! The mold-making process is really mind-bending because it’s basically a reverse sculpture of negative space. I can’t tell you the amount of hours I’ve sat and stared. That said, the wings on the ICARUS models and the opposing curves were particularly tough. 

RH: What plants are currently in your home? How do you cultivate the sense of a garden indoors? 

AS: I think of plants as covetable objects as important as a lamp or a pair of chairs. Some of them are rare and some are more common but I like to put them together in combinations that show off the colors and textures. It’s really another layer of decorating and depending on your style it could be very minimal or totally over the top. 

RH: You’ve claimed “Gardens are maps that guide us to connect with ourselves.” Tell us more about that. 

AS: I think a garden is really about an invitation to remember our eternal bond with nature and to contemplate our place in the Universe and, in that way, it’s a map to connect with our deeper selves. The world is a busy and confusing place and a garden – or even a perfectly potted plant – invites us to pause and be present, which we could all do more of. 

RH: We are big on monthly playlists at R HUGHES with our OFFICE Radio series. So help us out, what song would you add to our next playlist?

AS: I’m currently obsessed with Say She She – an all-female trio of vocalists. They reference classic disco and funk making every day sound like Friday.