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Alexandra Saizan

Two recently graduated Tulane architecture students have developed eco-friendly planters as a part of a new design initiative called Concrete Therapy.

The alumnae, Elizabeth Davis and Allison Schiller, met in a studio class at the School of Architecture. They collaborated on several projects when they realized that they had not used concrete in any of their classes.

“We’d done work in wood and metal so far, but there weren’t really any opportunities to work in concrete,” Schiller said. “It’s a pretty easy material to work with.”

Schiller said said they made the planters to coincide with the change in seasons.

“Mainly, it was the end of winter and the beginning of spring,” Schiller said. “It seemed like a good time to start thinking about plants.”

The duo then offered their line to the Magazine Street boutique Modern Market, which began to sell the planters after December 2011. Prior to selling the Concrete Therapy line, Modern Market did not sell products made of concrete.

Modern Market employee Caroline Pesses said the unique design of the planters appealed to the boutique.

“They’re very organic, and they’re made custom and locally,” Pesses said. “You can’t really beat that.”

Pesses said customers have been receptive to the new line of products.

“They’re excited about it because not many people have seen these before,” Pesses said. “It’s something that’s a little bit different than what you usually see.”

Schiller said she would like to continue working on Concrete Therapy throughout the summer.

“We’d like to make more and try out different shapes, sizes,” Schiller said. “I think people want them to be bigger. We’ll experiment with different sizes.”

Schiller said that the Tulane environment was a good setting for her to develop the ideas behind Concrete Therapy.

“I think there’s an attitude of people experimenting and trying things,” Schiller said. “It seems like a lot of encouragement of creativity at Tulane and in New Orleans. It seems like the kind of place where people who want to make something, can.”