Interiors

The Tula Plant Truck Hits the Road

by Annie Werbler

After adorning An Airy Modern Greenhouse in Brooklyn, NY and co-founding a plants and design business called Tula, Christan Summers and Ivan Martinez have taken their passion for bringing plants to people on the road, building a first-of-its-kind mobile greenhouse. Tulita, as the tricked out plant truck is affectionately called, began as a run-down 1987 Chevy parked deep in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. Christan found the pre-makeover Tulita for sale on an early morning run, and immediately saw that she had potential — a shape with character and small size, easily maneuverable around urban streets. Once the truck was theirs, Ivan designed the aesthetic and functional transformation, bringing in Master Chef Mobile Kitchens to fabricate the vision. They started by cutting off the roof and reinforcing the interiors with triangulated aluminum cross bars, then installing a retractable service window on the passenger side. After the structure was remodeled, Tulita was painted a dark green symbolizing Christan and Ivan’s love for horticulture. Exterior branding was hand-done in old school lettering by Jon Bocksel, who is a traditional sign painter. The finished greenhouse on wheels has been visiting different Brooklyn neighborhoods since April 2016, relocating itself to local markets and fairs, or wherever city dwellers need the inspiration with which to fall in love with plants.

The truck fits as many plants as possible while allowing people to come inside, shop, and experience what it’s like to stand in a mobile greenhouse — checking out the plants, planters made in collaboration with local potters, and loads of plant accessories. Never ones to stand still, for Tulita’s next iteration, Christan and Ivan are working on ways to upgrade the efficiencies of transit and plant growth. —Annie

Photography by Ivan Martinez and Christan Summers

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Tulita bursting with green at f.a.d weekend market in Carroll Gardens.
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Christan Summers and Ivan Martinez outside the plant truck. Photo by Stephen Yang.
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Inside Tulita, plants are pre-potted and sold in Tula's Summer collection of terra cotta planters, handmade in collaboration with Jordan Colon.
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Tulita sells her wares at the Brooklyn Flea.
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Ivan holding one of Tula's terra cotta planters, handmade in collaboration with local potter Jordan Colon.
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Christan Summers talking plant care from the service window.
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Driver's side view of Tulita.
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Customers enter the truck from the rear at Renegade Craft Fair.
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View of the retractable service window and plant menu with people shopping inside.
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A pegboard offers flexibility in the display.
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"Plants Are Alive" is an important motto for Tula. Jon Bocksel repainted the stop sign to say "Stop for Plants" on one side, and "Live with Plants" on the other.
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The truck is filled with light from the greenhouse roof.
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The closed side of the truck with hand-painted lettering.
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Tulita's miraculous transformation.

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Comments

  • Beautiful and a brilliant way to bring plants to the public and encourage individuals to introduce plants into their homes.

  • One technical question–how do they keep the plants on the flat wire shelves from falling off in transit? Great! Idea!

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