Moss in Detail: A Rolling Planter


The modern loft is one of moss’ signatures. An open plan loft is a popular choice for creative professionals, especially those who combine work with home life all in one space. Today we’re taking a look at our custom rolling planters and how they reflect the versatile nature of a loft.


The flexibility of a loft allows for a myriad of uses depending on the event and context, so we figured that the furnishings should accommodate a variety of uses as well. The piece de resistance in our West Loop Loft project are the operable window walls, which maintain flexible privacy barriers and allows sunlight to swoop through restricted glazing with ease. But our approach extends to the detail pieces too, like our custom-rolling planter.


For spaces lacking outdoor growing areas, a portable planter provides an indoor growing medium so that a touch of nature can still adorn a living space. One could recreate a mini garden indoors, complete with herbs, and container–friendly vegetables, or a mixed cactus and succulent planter can create a zen-like oasis reminiscent of drier climates. Rolling planters in larger commercial venues can provide a natural divider/barrier to cordon off particular areas, while still being flexible and creating a fun aesthetic.

Here are some specific reasons we chose a rolling planter for West Loop Loft:

  • Follow the sun patterns During the winter months when sun is scarce, a sequestered tree or plant might be missing out on crucial sunlight. Our client’s loft had limited windows as it was, so they feared they’d never be able to keep any plants alive. A rolling planter makes it easy to move plants around the loft so they can soak up all the sun they need.
  • A touch of green A rolling planter makes it easy for a bit of plant life to follow you around as you work or cook, making it just a bit more like a pet. Having tons of people over? It’s easy to make a flowering tree the center of attention, or keep it away from foot traffic.
  • Design worthy When design isn’t silently humming in the background, helping your day go smoothly, it should be grabbing your attention, starting conversations and making your home or space feel personal. A rolling planter is endlessly customizable, and can be filled with multiple plants, a single tree as we have here, or a combination. It’s size, shape, color and even caster type can all be changed to match the design palette of the client.


We designed the rolling planter to complement some of the industrial motifs throughout the loft, like the textured backsplash below.


An initial sketch of our rolling planter concepts shows the direction of movement, materials, and concept. The next sketch, side by side with the final product, is a little more defined than the rough one above. It contains dimensions for each of the exterior and interior elements. The body is made of cold-rolled steel with a clear powder coated finish.

One thing we would do to improve the design is to build in a drainage system. Drainage is critical to plant health and without proper drainage, plant roots sitting in stagnate water can develop root rot. We used some rocks to create a natural drainage channel, but this approach isn’t always successful for water drainage and air flow. For the next design iteration, we would upgrade this planter to create a multi-tiered drainage system to ensure that water flows through the soil. Check out the final design below, complete with indoor fig tree!

The rolling planter, fully equipped with live tree. 

Keep your eye out for all the ways we bring the outdoors inside, helping the lines blur between the built environment and the natural one. And while you’re waiting, check out our other moss in Detail posts like Doors in Detail: Pocket Doors and Sliding Barn DoorsOverhead Doors at Home and At WorkA Linear Drain Shower, Wood Wall Panel Systems and A Retail Oriented Wine Rack.