In a country jostling for space, offices with gardens were a thing of luxury about ten years back, afforded by only a few. The massive Godrej campus in Vikhroli, Mumbai; the GE, John F Welch Technology Center in Bangalore; and the Infosys campus in Mysore are some examples. Only such select organisations had the real estate to add the beauty of gardens into their office designs. However, all that has changed with vertical gardens.
First patented by Professor Stanley Hart White about 50 years ago, vertical gardens were hugely popularised by architects Patrick Blanc and Jean Nouvel when they created a green exterior wall for a museum in Paris in the year 2005. In the last five years, vertical gardens have become well-known and well-used in offices and homes alike. No longer do organisations and architects have to think about cost and the aesthetics of gardens to be mutually exclusive. The vertical garden is a win-win! What’s more, they have many benefits, ranging from boosting employee productivity to adding to your brand story.
Differentiates Your Brand from Competitors
Green branding is a real thing. As per Investopedia, green branding is a way for companies to “go above and beyond traditional marketing by promoting environmental core values.” It affects businesses and customers alike. Customers like brands that share their core values. Moreover, in today’s world, going green is a very prevalent core value. Vertical gardens help position the brand externally while creating a positive vibe inside. They present a welcoming space for your employees, clients, and guests as they enter the workplace. Don’t be surprised to see your dead, dull wall transformed into a selfie corner!
Provides an Eco-friendly Office Environment
Choose specific plants to be grown in the vertical garden – for example, air purifying or oxygen producing plants. Such plants help in the regulation of humidity by removing harmful VOCs (toxins) from the air. They reduce the temperature inside by at least 2℃ and are beneficial, especially during summer. Plants also absorb water from the surroundings. By doing this, they lower humidity better than most wall coating materials used for the same purpose. No more foggy glass outside your window! A vertical garden also works as a heat buffer by reducing the amount of heat flow. Acting as natural insulators, plants in a vertical garden keep the air cool by preventing heat from the outside environment entering inside.
Provides Emotional Aid
Vertical gardens have a positive impact on people’s mood at work. It is a known fact that contact with greenery and vegetation of any sort benefits our health and well-being. Gazing at plants on the wall can improve attention, enhance creativity levels and quickly change your mood. Further plants induce an overall sense of positivity and help reduce workplace conflict. This effect links to the biophilia hypothesis, a theory that suggests that human beings have a natural desire to connect with nature. A study showed that just looking at greenery for 40 seconds; the brain triggers into a more relaxed state.
Improves Overall Employee Health
Vertical gardens improve the surrounding air quality. As per a recent Businessworld report, indoor air pollution “can be up to 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution” with resultant health impacts that “far outweigh those of outdoor air pollution.” Indoor vertical gardens convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, and more oxygen in the air makes you mentally and physically healthier. Flowering plants such as lavender and marigold also create a stress-free atmosphere. Other plants such as lemongrass, germanium, and citronella have distinct smells that keep mosquitoes away.
Increases Employees’ Productivity
“Green, which is Nature’s colour, is restful, soothing, cheerful, and health-giving.”-Paul Brunton (well known British spiritualist)
Since indoor plants can significantly improve employees’ health, vertical gardens increase work productivity. In the long run, they reduce stress, boost morale, and reduce absenteeism. Vertical gardens also act as sound barriers as they absorb vibrations and echoes. A quieter environment helps employees avoid distractions which in turn allows them to focus on their work better. Green represents calm, good luck, and health that can also motivate employees to work as a team.
Makes a Statement
The world has moved from cubicles and structured settings to open space designs that have a dash of colour, spunk and ergonomics. New-age offices in India are already becoming bolder and trendier. Office spaces can take this up a notch with vertical gardens.
Living green walls make a breathtaking statement. These walls made up of colourful flowering plants and bright leaves, create visually pleasing spaces for employees and clients. Vertical gardens can also block unattractive, but necessary, objects like dumpsters and recycling stations, HVAC units, electric meters… Place a screen that holds a vertical garden in front of these objects to hide them from guests and passers-by.
An Innovative Way to Create Partitions
A vertical garden is a unique way to convert a single space into two or more functional areas. Alternatively, to divide a large room into multiple smaller rooms. Vertical gardens can also replace a boring partition wall or glass facade by adding a generous touch of green. Vertical gardens are great for any organisation or any size of the office.
Some Creative Vertical Garden Ideas
Simple ideas like installing flood lights near vertical gardens can change the way a space lights up and would create an ambience unlike any other.
If you fancy live plants but don’t want to deal with all the maintenance issues, consider installing a live succulent plant wall. Succulents are types of plants that need minimal water to grow and are available in vibrant colours and textures.
A few trending ideas that offices are implementing include designing decorative mosaics out of vibrant, colourful plants, adding different framed designs, crafting large wooden letters that spell your brand name, and creating small plant-niches using recycled materials.
The concept of vertical gardens took nearly five decades to become popular, of which the last few years have seen an exponential rise. A study by International Green Roof and Greenwall Projects Database states that more than three-quarters of vertical gardens were built post-2009. Also, according to The New York Times, “people want the green bling” added to their professional life by choice. All it takes is an excellent customised design, a blank to beautify and the right experts to install vertical gardens for your office.