Chat with Joshua Ollas of Outerspace Designs in Miami

CJ ponders the important questions in Joshua’s Miami studio

I only know Joshua @outerspace.designs because his brother CJ is proud of him. And I don’t believe in gurus but if I were to CJ would come closest to being mine. I love a man who has had time to think and what these two brothers have in spades is thoughtfulness.

Both drawn to materiality, CJ is presently studying fashion and we look forward to him bringing his vision, and to quote his brother and I agree - unmatched style, to design activewear and workwear from alternative and planet friendly materials. In the meantime, I’m enjoying watching them start to work together on running and expanding the plant design business that Joshua founded - Outerspace Designs. The focus and what initially stuck out to me in the brilliant brand name - is balcony plant design in Miami. “What's in a name? That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Joshua points out to me that there are thousands of empty square feet of outdoor spaces amongst the towering high rises in Miami and to me that’s poetry because it’s the forgotten in between that lends the most potential for a creative mind. Enjoy my conversation with Joshua on the possibilities below.


Moody florist: Good Morning, Josh 💐 It’s Viktoria. Whusshappenin?

Joshua: Viktoriaaaaaa it’s Joshua.

Joshua: I just woke up to all this rain

Moody florist: I heard it was bad yesterday too


The view through the Joshua’s screened window on the first day of Hurricane season

Moody florist: At least nobody looks thirsty

Joshua: Nah they’re drowning now

Moody florist: You got some green creeps tryna poke through your window

Moody florist: Did you party yesterday

Moody florist: I got up and went out soon as I saw the colors in the early morning sky

Moody florist: All the neighborhood roses burst open over night

Joshua: I worked my third double in a row yesterday. I partied at work after the game, but fuck my back is killing me I need some therapyy

Joshua: Hurricane season starts today

Moody florist: Do you work at a bar or something? Guessing

Moody florist: It’s wild how y’all willing to deal with that every year

Moody florist: Y’all the real Atlanteans

Joshua: MIAliens

Joshua: Yes I am a bartender for the last 8 years 

Joshua: Over. It.

Moody florist: Means you have nerves of steel

Moody florist: Makes one appreciate the solitude of solo work

Moody florist: I definitely prefer being in a garden zoned out to doing client facing sales

Moody florist: But there is some magic in connecting with others but you did your bid

Moody florist: What percentage of your time would you say goes to your business versus the bar

Joshua: It really is my only social life, the bar. Aside from that I’m hiding in the garden almost all day long.

Joshua: My time was split pretty evenly interestingly. 3-4 days at the bar and all my plants in between. I work seven days a week easy

Joshua: Unless it’s pouring.

Moody florist: There’s that rain again

Moody florist: Pretty funny you’ve chosen to work with desert plants

Moody florist: They say too much of a thing is well too much of the thing

Moody florist: What peaked the cactus focus?

Joshua: Because it barely exists down here and I wanted to see what I could do to implement it more. People are scared of cacti but they really just don’t understand soil. It’s not my main thing, they’re just weird and have interesting growth patterns so I wanted to dive in 

Moody florist: Dew you have a main thang?

Joshua: Nah. I could never. 

Moody florist: Hehe

Joshua: There’s too much of everything to pick something for me. I want it all. Money cash hoes and clothes

Joshua: Jk just plants really. 

Moody florist: Actually that’s not a bad segway I do consider yours a luxury service was that intentional

Moody florist: I’m almost mad at myself for using the L word because I find it pretty corny

Moody florist: But what I mean is an involved thoughtful service

Joshua: Curated. I honestly just hate what gets the most attention in Miami. Especially in these beautiful high end hotels and buildings. People are planting wrong, placing things in the wrong spots, cheap looking work, no conscious thoughts of environment or integration. It’s mass produced turnover landscaping and design. 

Joshua: So I challenged myself to go to a few places I enjoyed but hated the plants, and asked if I could give them a more curated experience instead of just “put this over there”

Joshua: I did one job. And blew up.

Joshua: Nothing wild, just thought out and people loved it and I just spread from there. 

Joshua: I use a lot of rocks and crystals in my potted plants, especially for my weird clients. And by crystals I don’t mean small little pebbles. Hand dug quartz from Arkansas.

Joshua: Idk what I’m doing or what sector I’m in. I have people asking me for interior design, furniture, lighting, speakers and tech integration, I have clients that want 1000$ crystals.


Screenshot of a new development in Miami that Joshua is being courted to dew plant design for 

Joshua: I got offered this project.

Joshua: I think the luxury direction was intentional. People with money tend to know what they want a little more than others. They know their style and their budget and it makes things very easy for me because I don’t have to worry about staying within a budget or bounds. 

Joshua: Budgets do make me hella creative though

Joshua: And also I trade services to my friends that have businesses

Moody florist: The thought out bit is what got me to notice your work

Moody florist: You are a more reasonable man than I as I’d be boat shopping as soon as I got that green building project deck in email

Moody florist: I feel that though when a client trusts me to do whatever I want

Moody florist: I found that people who research know what they want and they come from all corners

Moody florist: And I guess some know to hire somebody

Moody florist: Your presentation is very tight and you look at Plants and Design with loving eyes 

Joshua: I appreciate that. I have noticed though, my lack of formal education will probably keep me out of some areas professionally.

Moody florist: OK so I guess your main things are sub tropical plants and balcony installations from your IG bio

Joshua: So I want to keep existing myself on design. As if it were school

Moody florist: Can I just say very much on the record fk that mess

Moody florist: With all these holograms taking people's jobs

Joshua: Yeah that’s my strong suit right now. There are a million empty balconies here with thousands of square feet. 

Joshua: I really really really want tech integrated more with my work

Moody florist: Labor and design and things that take a human will be the only jobs left

Moody florist: What are your first thoughts on integrating tech beyond outdoor speakers and lighting

Joshua: I’m not sure to be honest it’s an area of exploration for me right now. I think the tech integration is going to be more for me and “art” right now. I have been looking at 3d printer that prints with clay and mycelium. I want to make my own line of locally sourced ingredients to make shapes and styles I’ve never imagined or that even don’t exist. Geometry. Until I see what I like and want and what I’m even trying to conceive. I feel it would be almost like an art installation. I want floating large magnetic driven pots. Imagine those little desk floating pots, but large scale.

Screenshots of Joshua’s Pinterest inspirations

Joshua: Like I said. Idk where I’m going.

Joshua: But one acid trip is what made this whole idea happen

Joshua: I want projections. Sensor driven lighting. Immersive sound. Integrated with your life so you don’t have to, open an app for your lights or connect a fucking Bluetooth speaker. It’s just always there, working, integrated, seamless, but hidden amongst the plants.

Joshua: Not seen, not in the open.

Joshua: I want to line my planters with led lights for the evening times so they cast shadows upwards and all around. I want mirrors reflecting lights and visuals so you don’t know which way is which

Joshua: I want smart recycling watering system. I want structured water, I want only copper tools so I don’t break the conductivity of the earth when I use shitty iron shovels, I want living mushroom soil, I want hanging gardens or orchids, I want to be a quantum gardener

Joshua: I want to be able to water my clients gardens from my phone because it’s connected.

Joshua: I want to water all my clients at the same time from my couch. Hands on maintenance when it’s needed. 

Joshua: Watering all my clients….is a job in itself

Joshua: I want interactive plant art in the city of Miami

Moody florist: You’ll have it

Moody florist: One foot (carrying heavy plants) in front of the other

Moody florist: This green building project would certainly be a nice playground to start scaling up

Moody florist: I think I’ve helped sell Jeppe Hein works if I’m not mistaken

Moody florist: I think large sculpture is where I’ll eventually reconnect back to Art in my current work in gardens

Moody florist: I can’t believe you sign people up for waterings!

Moody florist: Am without a vehicle presently and just physically couldn’t manage

Moody florist: Start with casting plant shadows! I don’t want to wait for you to get a mushroom printer to see some art outta you

Moody florist: If you make maquettes and thangs now I’m certain one of your clients will turn into a patron and help see your work get realized in a larger scale in Miami’s public (or private) spaces

Moody florist: Installing some bio artwork amongst an upcoming garden install in a hotel or building could be ya canvas

Moody florist: Please insist at ya next meeting

Moody florist: Naw Miami is where all the art folks gather you can def build support

Joshua: I build maintenace into my projects. Especially at restaurants. It’s too hot to not water here and if they want it to stay alive gotta hire me. I also sell it as insurance, so if anything dies during my maintenance I replace it for free. I charge 400 a month per client

Moody florist: Good for you

Moody florist: They def can’t be bothered to have staff do it

Moody florist: 30% of the outdoor dining shanties in nyc now are just a dried out boxwood hedge massacre

Joshua: Yeah same here. Areca palms and burned monsteras line south beach restaurants and I wonder if I should get in there and help or just stay in my own lane. Because I could bush myself with everyone in Miami but I think my soul is directing me somewhere very very different.

Joshua: I’m not without a car. But my truck isn’t big enough, that’s where I’m bottle necking rn

Moody florist: Yea I def want to develop my services more for things like lighting, sound, hardscaping simply to have a unified end product

Joshua: Yup. I feel like music and lights and plants are synonymous

Moody florist: I had to end a meeting where a restaurant owner said something about fairy lights last season

Moody florist: I was so rude after lol ima have a lil tantrum if it’s for the greater good

Moody florist: I don’t know that they are synonymous

Joshua: Hahahaha

Moody florist: But certainly for the sake of home entertaining

Joshua: Maybe not synonymous but I like having them all together personally.

Moody florist: Or public spaces

Joshua: Landscapes should be seen at night.

Moody florist: That’s why you shouldn’t delay putting them into your work

Joshua: You’re right…

Moody florist: That bit I enjoy thinking about

Moody florist: In general how much we notice the landscaping, when done right, before we noticed the architecture or anything else

Moody florist: Most folks don’t pay it any mind but what an art form

Moody florist: Rather they take it for granted

Moody florist: I guess that’s the basis for my whole business trying to get them to stop doing that

Moody florist: And bring up other key points while they stare at the plants

Moody florist: Imagine our cities without landscaping or maintenance

Moody florist: I often try to imagine completely overgrown

Moody florist: The boardwalk in Coney Island is covered in tufts of grass it’s so cute and Seussical

Moody florist: Combination of herbicide ban and budget cuts

Moody florist: A freakin wonderland to me though but it is a problem for the preservation of the actual boardwalk now that I think about it

Moody florist: What to fund/fix first amirite

Joshua: Herbicide ban wow

Moody florist: Yea NY cancelled alladatmess

Moody florist: I may be misquoting but what I hear from parks and nurseries you cannot use anything anymore

Moody florist: And then I cover the gaps by stop n chatting to Nonnas in the neighborhood when I see em using roundout or roundabout or whatever the fk

Moody florist: I say ‘we live right next to the watahh, that’s gona rinse right into the street drain and right to the fishes’

Moody florist: Their eyes gloss over for a second and they put the bottle down

Moody florist: It’s thankless but necessary work 

Moody florist: Do you have a favorite plant installation to date?

Joshua: The water here is so fucked it’s insane. Every week they’re dumping sometbing new into the bay and it goes viral all over the web. Never stops though, they take the fine on the chin and keep it moving

Joshua: One of my favorites so far is one that’s incomplete. It’s a 35th floor facing the ocean, it’s slowly turning into a jungle but she gave me complete freedom to do what I want. I have more ready to install just need to get a van asap or rent one today