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Why Plants are the New Art in Architectural Development

ELUXE MagazineJuly 14, 2017

Back in the 80’s, it was de rigueur for architects to incorporate huge, showy and highly pricey works of art in lobbies. For many of us, the first time we had direct contact with works by the likes of Mark Rothko Julian Schnabel or Mark Tansey was in the foyers of banks, expensive condos, or company headquarters. The works were designed to impress, awe and even intimidate a bit.

 

But times have changed, and today’s architects’ goals are different – they want us to feel centred, calm and healthier when we enter a building. And what better way to induce those feelings that through the use of green walls?

 

Green walls, also called living walls, have been installed in company lobbies for businesses as diverse as Lululemon, Google, Airbnb and Air France, and no wonder: studies have shown that in the workplace, green walls make an enormous positive impact. Just some of the benefits include:

 

Reducing urban heat island effects and smog

Cleaning outside air of pollutants and dust

Offsetting the carbon footprint of people and fuel emissions

Removing VOCs and other harmful toxins like benzene and formaldehyde from the air

Soundproofing

Insulating and cooling buildings

Creating habitats for birds and beneficial insects, increasing biodiversity

Growing food in urban settings

Increasing foot traffic in retail spaces

 

But it’s not only companies that are applying living walls to their constructions – residential developers who once invested heavily in statues and paintings to adorn their work have discovered adding green walls and other plant based features increases real estate value, residents’ well being, and of course, aesthetic value of a building.

 

Here, we take a look at 7 beautiful developments that demonstrate how plants are the new art in architectural developments.

 

60 White Street 

At 60 White Street, you’ll be surprised and delighted by the way moss and vines colonise the brick and vertical cables, whilst brick salvaged from the site creates a backdrop for the bluestone and plantings. In this development, the green wall designed for the lobby will contain a selective mix of interesting textured plants that are guaranteed to thrive in interior environments. Furthermore, the plan for an interior grotto adjacent to a lounge area will undoubtedly evoke the sense of a found location unearthed from the ruins of the existing building.

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