Getting to know Nial McEvoy and Scotscape:
How did Scotscape come about and how long ago?
Scotscape was formed in 1989 by Angus Cunningham as a landscaping company. In 2009, the company first got involved in living walls and green infrastructure and now works both nationally and globally.
Who forms part of your team?
Scotscape is divided into smaller companies, Landscape, Smartscape and Groundscape. I work with Smartscape, which are involved with Living Walls, interior landscaping and green infrastructure as a whole. Within the Smartscape team my role is to educate people on the importance of green infrastructure: usually my audience is architects at CPD lunches, but I also speak to college and university students or at commercial trade show events.
Also on the team I have Kevin McLeod who is the Director, Jake Woods our senior estimator and Ian Herriott our living wall plant designer. Our installation team consists of 4 people and the same for living wall maintenance. However, we do work with several subcontractors for both installation and maintenance to help us achieve the work which we do. Tom and Paolo work almost exclusively on interior landscaping projects for two clients who have offices based all around the world.
What do you think the history books will say about the innovative products/service that you have designed/provided?
I don’t know but I hope it’s good. I’d like to think that the products which we have designed have focused on plant health as paramount and that our projects have purpose in the built environment.
Who is your main customer type and which product do you sell the most of?
A living wall is the most popular enquiry and the customer can vary from large commercial projects to smaller households. Many people who want a living wall at home learn how to install their own living walls as a measure to keep energy costs low as well as improving their health and wellbeing.
Who or what are your biggest inspirations or influences?
My biggest influence isn’t a who and not exactly a what. Personally speaking, and this sounds a bit cheesy, my biggest influence is that overwhelming emotional feeling you get when you can’t say anything else other than ‘WOW!’. For me it’s usually found in nature, whether it’s a beautiful vista over a natural landscape or creating your own secluded garden oasis. I do enjoy the idea of being completely surrounded by plants, almost like a hidden garden or a discovery which only you know about. It’s these emotions that I wish everybody could experience and that is what I hope to project and pass on to people.
Who or what inspired you to get involved with this industry?
Although I have always had nature in my life, I probably took it for granted. Then I spent three weeks in Costa Rica over the Christmas holidays in 2007 which literally changed my life. I basically came back, quit my job and enrolled in a horticulture course which started in September 2008 when I was 28.
What piece of advice would you offer for someone starting out in this particular segment of the design industry?
It is my belief that to know your industry you have to work in as many aspects of it as possible. I started on the living wall maintenance team as agency staff. I started at the bottom; I saw every problem which could possibly happen. So now when I speak on the topic I can speak with confidence as I have seen all the problems and which solutions can be applied. What I see today, is people trying to start at the top without knowing how everything works.
What have you been experimenting with recently?
In the last two years we created a living wall which could house trees and a living wall system which could be hung on a lighting column and is solar-powered. Now we are working on something new but that’s top secret 😉.
Can you give us an example of a recent project where you received a brief from a designer, collaborated with them and achieved a successful result?
Usually we don’t get given a brief per se. A client/designer may want a living wall in their building. We would then state what we need to allow plant growth: water, power and light. Usually sufficient light levels are the largest hurdle, but these can easily be achieved if the correct lights are installed. The client/designer may give their thoughts about the wall as in whether they would like the wall really wild or quite neat, but it would be up to us (Scotscape) to choose the specific plants.
Did you enjoy your guest speaker appearance at Metier Rendezvous in December 2019? What did you bring away with you from that?
I did enjoy my time – I just wished I had more of it to deliver all the information. What I took away is that most interior designers work solo. Really my only exposure to interior designers has been with larger companies and I’d made assumptions that all designers work for larger companies but, apparently, I was wrong.
What are the key benefits for Interior Designers to be working with yourself and Scotscape?
One of the main key benefits is that we aren’t just a living wall company. We are also a huge interior & exterior landscaper and we can apply the best solution to the task at hand, rather than trying to force a product which may not suit the client’s needs in the long term.
What is next for you? ….and Scotscape?
We keep fighting the good fight. We are at that age now where universities are really studying plants and what benefits they can apply to the built environment. We can now use this knowledge to place the correct plant in the correct location to carry out a specific task.
Thank you to Niall for his time in speaking at our Brunch meeting and for bursting the myth that breath-taking landscaping is only for the great outdoors. Scotscape have so many innovative green infrastructure solutions, for both interior and exterior projects, that improve air quality, energy efficiency and health and wellbeing. If you have a scheme that you think would benefit from a unique bespoke green solution, then to learn more about Scotscape and their products and services, visit their website.
If you would like to join us and have the opportunity to listen to engaging speakers, like Niall, and discover more new products and innovations over a delightful brunch, then sign up for membership now!
Metier Rendezvous is a peer support network for Interior Designers!
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Collaboratively, we believe in Community over Competition. We even share business ideas, tips and even brainstorm on projects together.