Living walls allow full gardens to bloom in places that couldn’t otherwise fit much flora – and companies around the world are feeling the fern. Here are six of the coolest vertical gardens in corporate offices. They’re not just hip – they bring oxygen, fresh energy and modern sophistication to work spaces, improving the health and satisfaction of talented employees.
You may have heard them called Living Walls. Or green walls. Or vertical gardens. Whatever you call them, chances are you’ve seen one before, in a trendy restaurant, at the new SFMoMA, or on Pinterest. These walls flip the idea of a garden on its head, rooting plants to the vertical surfaces of indoor (and sometimes outdoor) spaces. Grown using vertical hydroponic systems, plants are attached to structures that are able to aerate and control temperature, while providing a sturdy base to support them.
When Peruvian architect Oscar Gonzalez Moix decided on a green wall for the Zentro office building in Lima, he enlisted the help of sculptor Veronica Crousse. That alone tells you one thing – the wall is as much a work of art as a design element for this tranquil office space. Crousse approached the project with a sculptor’s sensibility, using reclaimed wood and organically spaced swaths of greenery to create a naturalistic atmosphere. The mixed-use space, like the haphazard patchwork of plants on the wall itself, attracts a diverse collection of businesses, all attracted to the clean and modern look of the building’s design.
Autodesk, San Rafael
Autodesk’s lush living wall is the work of Living Wall powerhouse firm Habitat Horticulture. The concept is simple – in a good way. A sculptural representation of their minimalist logo floats among a full wall of ivy and ferns, as if emerging from the forest. We’re guessing the maintenance on this wall is considerable. After all, letting the leaves grow over the sign? That would just be gauche.
Facebook, Menlo Park
Mark Zuckerberg often says that Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters are 1% done – meaning, of course, that much like the UX of the social platform, the offices are always in flux. All the same, we love the space just the way it is. We’re obsessed with the living wall in this collaborative open space, as well as this cunning cut out wall sign for their café, Harvest. We love that they went with the Allsteel Harvest Table. Habitat Horticulture hits it out of the park once again.
Ronald Lu, Hong Kong
No list of living walls would be complete without Patrick Blanc, who many agree was the inventor of the vertical garden. This French botanist has created mesmerizing installations around the world, drawing inspiration from local plant life along the way. This wall, in the Ronald Lu office in Hong Kong, uses Anthurium clarinervium and Adiantum raddianum to create a radiant, subtropical moment in an otherwise Spartan office environment.
Evernote, Redwood City
San Francisco based architecture firm O + A and InsideSource created the Evernote headquarters as, “an extension of human memory.” The refined explosion of tillandsias covering a clear white wall in the company’s lobby evokes that same mood. Simultaneously restrained and dreamy, the form calls to mind synaptic connection patterns, as well as the shape of a galaxy. Did we mention the wall’s low impact on the environment? The plants require very little water in proportion to the oxygen they breathe into this ultra-modern space.
Nuon’s retro-futuristic lobby area marries the past and the future seamlessly. A utility company providing electricity and gas to the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK, Nuon is very aware of its carbon footprint, encouraging sustainable energy throughout Europe. Nuon’s green wall is much more than just an aesthetic feature – it’s a symbol of the company’s progressive values. We love how the architect managed to nestle a display screen into this two-story sweep of greenery.
Need another reason? They’re actually good for the structure of buildings. Daily and seasonal temperature shifts make building materials expand and contract. When built on the exterior of a building, living walls act as an extra layer of protection from the elements. And even interior walls have a similar benefit – they act as a light insulation from extreme temperatures, so you’ll save on your utilities. And one more reason? They soften noise levels and act as an acoustical solution – which we all know comes in useful in echoing open office environments. OK, now we want one!