Introduction to Living Walls
Living walls, also known as green walls or vertical gardens, have become increasingly popular in commercial spaces in recent years. At their core, living walls are structures that allow plants to grow vertically on a surface. This “green” alternative to traditional blank walls and art offers numerous benefits.
While static art pieces have decorated office lobbies and hotel atriums for decades, living walls provide a more dynamic and natural feel. As this trend continues to grow, businesses are finding that the adaptability, environmental perks, and aesthetic appeal of living walls outshine traditional art in commercial settings.
Introducing the Concept
A living wall allows vegetation to grow vertically on a structural frame, which can be attached to an interior or exterior wall. The frame holds growing material like soil or coconut husks along with an integrated irrigation system to nourish the plants. Living walls come in many forms, ranging from simple designs with climbing vines to elaborate panel systems housing a diverse array of plants.
While living walls first started appearing in high-end hotels and restaurants, they are now becoming commonplace in offices, retail stores, hospitals, and more. As people spend more time indoors, businesses are realising the value of bringing nature inside. The global green walls market is expected to grow in valuation from $822 million in 2021 to over $3.5 billion by 2028.
Comparing to Traditional Art
Unlike traditional art and decoration, living walls bring natural elements indoors in an adaptable and evolving way. They provide air purification, temperature regulation, acoustic benefits, and psychological advantages that static art cannot offer. While art hangs statically on a wall, living walls change with the seasons and grow over time. This contrast shows why more businesses are turning to living walls over traditional art installations.
What are Living Walls?
Living walls, also known as green walls or vertical gardens, are walls that are partially or completely covered in vegetation. They incorporate a hydroponic system that delivers water and nutrients to sustain plants on the wall’s surface. The plants are rooted in a lightweight growing medium attached to the wall rather than soil. There are two main types of living walls:
Modular Panel Systems
These consist of interlocking plastic containers or panels that hold the growing medium and plants. The panels are attached to a structural wall or frame. This modular system makes installing and maintaining the living wall easier.
These use a felt material that is affixed to the wall and acts as the growing medium for plants. The plant roots grow directly into the felt. These systems are extremely lightweight.
Living walls can be incorporated into both indoor and outdoor settings. They are commonly found in commercial spaces such as:
- Offices – to liven up dull interiors and boost productivity
- Hotels – to create an inviting lobby area
- Restaurants – to enhance ambience in dining areas
- Hospitals – to provide calming nature views
- Spas – to complement the serene environment
The versatility of living walls allows them to be installed in almost any commercial space where their benefits can be enjoyed.
Why Choose Living Walls over Traditional Art?
Living walls provide a multitude of benefits that traditional art simply cannot match. Unlike static art pieces, living walls are dynamic, evolving installations that completely transform an indoor space.
One of the biggest advantages of living walls is their adaptability. They can be designed to fit any commercial space, big or small. The modular panels that make up living walls allow for tremendous flexibility in shape and size. They can be configured in countless ways to match the exact dimensions and layout of any indoor environment. This level of adaptability is just not possible with traditional framed artworks.
In addition to their adaptability, living walls are extremely versatile. They can incorporate a wide variety of plants, colours and textures to match the style of any business. From sleek modern spaces to cosy cafes, there’s a living wall design to complement any aesthetic. Traditional art is much more limited in this regard. Once an art piece is created, it cannot be modified. With living walls, the “artwork” can be changed and updated over time by altering the plant selection.
Unlike traditional art, living walls engage more than just our sense of sight. The interplay between sights, smells, textures and even sounds creates a multi-sensory experience that static art simply cannot provide. The gentle rustling of leaves, the earthy smell of soil, the varied colours and textures of diverse plant life – living walls activate our senses in a way that traditional art cannot.
Research has shown that being around plants has positive psychological effects. Living walls provide an easy way to incorporate those benefits into an indoor space. Studies show that exposure to living walls can lower stress, increase creativity and focus, and even enhance moods. These are impacts that typical artworks do not provide.
For all these reasons and more, living walls deliver advantages over traditional art that business owners would be remiss to ignore. Their versatility and multi-sensory appeal make them an exciting new trend that can transform any commercial space.
Environmental Benefits of Living Walls
Living walls provide numerous environmental benefits that make them an attractive green option for commercial spaces. Unlike traditional art, living walls actively contribute to improving indoor air quality and regulating temperature.
Improved Air Quality
The plants in living walls filter indoor air pollutants and release oxygen through photosynthesis. They can remove harmful volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Living walls have been shown to reduce dust levels and allergens as well. This leads to cleaner, healthier indoor air.
Living walls help regulate indoor temperature and humidity. The plants’ biological processes cool the air through evapotranspiration. Living walls can reduce indoor temperatures by up to 5°F. They act as natural insulation, reducing heating and cooling costs for the building.
Urban Greening and Biodiversity
Living walls promote biodiversity by providing habitat for birds, insects, and small animals, even in urban settings. They increase green space and connect isolated green pockets in cities. Living walls allow people to experience nature’s beauty even indoors. The added greenery improves mental health and wellbeing.
With their unmatched environmental benefits, it’s clear why living walls are the best green choice over traditional art for commercial spaces. Their ability to purify air, moderate temperature, and bring nature indoors make them a win-win for both the environment and human health.
Aesthetic and Psychological Advantages
Living walls can completely transform the look and feel of commercial spaces. Their lush greenery and cascading plants create a vibrant, eye-catching display that is far more dynamic than traditional art. The flowing colours and textures of living walls bring spaces to life in a way static art pieces simply cannot. Their organic shapes and patterns are endlessly interesting and inviting. Living walls essentially become living art installations that evolve over time.
Beyond aesthetics, living walls also provide psychological benefits. Human beings inherently feel more relaxed and comfortable in natural environments. Bringing elements of nature indoors through living walls has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase productivity. Studies have found that even just having a view of greenery can boost focus and concentration. The presence of living walls can make commercial spaces feel more welcoming and energising for both employees and customers.
Vibrant, Ever-Changing Aesthetic
With a huge variety of plants to choose from, living walls can be designed to match any aesthetic. The colours and textures can be tailored to complement the existing décor. From bold, vivid displays to subtle, neutral palettes, living walls provide endless design possibilities. And unlike traditional art, living walls are dynamic and ever-changing. As plants grow and bloom over the seasons, the look evolves. This sense of movement brings spaces to life.
Psychological Benefits of Biophilic Design
The innate human affinity for nature is called biophilia. Bringing elements of the natural world indoors through biophilic design has proven psychological benefits. Studies show that spaces incorporating greenery and sunlight foster improved cognitive function, enhanced creativity, lower stress levels, and increased productivity. Employees working in environments with natural elements report higher job satisfaction. Living walls are an impactful way to incorporate biophilic design.
By tapping into biophilia, living walls create a soothing yet energising environment. Workers feel refreshed with improved focus and mood. Customers likewise feel more at ease in green spaces, making them linger longer. Living walls essentially act as natural mood boosters in commercial settings.
Maintenance and Longevity of Living Walls
When comparing living walls to traditional art, it becomes clear that living walls require more regular maintenance. However, this maintenance is relatively minimal compared to the benefits they provide. Living walls need occasional pruning, watering, and cleaning to thrive. Traditional art, on the other hand, only needs the occasional dusting or chemical cleaning to maintain its appearance.
However, when considering longevity, living walls have a distinct advantage. As living, growing organisms, they evolve and mature over time. This creates an ever-changing, dynamic piece of art. Traditional art remains static and does not change. After the initial excitement of installing a new traditional art piece fades, it simply becomes part of the background.
With proper care, living walls can last for many years. As plants grow, new offshoots replace older growths. The living wall transforms through the seasons, with new colours and textures emerging. This evolving nature keeps living walls fresh, vibrant, and engaging year after year. Traditional art cannot compete with this level of sustained interest and appeal.
When weighing the regular maintenance needs of living walls against their longevity and evolving nature, it is clear that living walls are the better long-term investment for commercial spaces looking to add art and visual interest.
- Living walls require more regular maintenance like pruning and watering compared to traditional art.
- However, living walls change and mature over time unlike static traditional art pieces.
- With proper care, living walls can last many years and continue to engage audiences.
- The longevity and evolving nature of living walls make them a better long-term choice over traditional art.
Case Studies of Successful Living Wall Installations
One of the most famous living wall installations is the lush vertical garden that covers the exterior of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Designed by botanist Patrick Blanc, this massive installation spans over 7,000 square feet and contains over 44,000 plants. The living wall has become an iconic part of the Caesars Palace brand and attracts visitors who come just to view and photograph the stunning vertical garden.
Another excellent example is the living wall installed in the lobby of the Vancouver Convention Centre in Canada. Spanning 120 feet wide and 40 feet tall, this living wall features over 15,000 plants and provides a beautiful natural backdrop for the convention centre. Since its installation, the living wall has significantly improved air quality in the lobby and become a beloved feature for visitors and employees alike.
Fashion retailer Anthropologie embraced the living wall trend in its Regent Street store in London. The three-story high vertical garden, featuring over 14,000 plants, forms an essential part of the store’s unique interior design. As customers step inside, they are greeted by a lush, vibrant spectacle that adds a touch of natural beauty to their shopping experience. Anthropologie’s living wall has not only enhanced customer appeal but has also created a tranquil shopping environment that encourages visitors to stay longer and return often.
The AC Hotel in New Orleans has a striking living wall that serves as the focal point of its lobby. The 25-foot tall wall is covered in a lush mixture of ferns, tropical plants, and flowering vines. The living wall has added a distinctive sense of place to the hotel and helps connect guests to the natural beauty of New Orleans. Surveys show guests are highly satisfied with the calming atmosphere the living wall creates.
Facebook’s corporate headquarters in Menlo Park, California features a number of living walls throughout its modern offices and common spaces. Employees have responded positively to having visual access to nature while working. Studies conducted at the headquarters found that the living walls help reduce stress, increase creativity, and encourage collaboration between workers.
The Langham Hotel in Chicago installed a elegant 20-foot living wall in its Pavilion lounge area. The vertical garden features a mix of leafy greens, tropicals, and seasonal blooms that change throughout the year. Since its addition, the living wall has increased customer satisfaction by 15% and become a popular backdrop for photos and events held at the lounge.
Green is Indeed the New Canvas
After reviewing the multitude of benefits that living walls provide, it is clear that green is indeed the new canvas for commercial spaces. Living walls outshine traditional art in adaptability, environmental impact, aesthetics, and longevity.
Unlike traditional art that is static, living walls evolve over time and transform spaces in exciting new ways. They contribute to cleaner indoor air, boosted moods, and increased biodiversity through the integration of nature into urban environments. With relatively low maintenance needs, living walls provide lasting value and require less upkeep than traditional art.
Most importantly, living walls create healthier and more inspiring spaces for people to work, dine, shop, and relax in. The psychological benefits of biophilic design are well-documented, with natural elements boosting productivity, creativity, and wellbeing. For businesses looking to revitalise their environments, living walls are an excellent investment.
As this trend continues to grow, more companies are realising the tangible benefits of replacing plain walls with verdant, living canvases. The choice is clear – it’s time to go green and let nature become the artwork. Businesses that embrace living walls will reap rewards for their customers, employees, and bottom lines.
Recap the benefits of choosing living walls over traditional art.
Living walls provide a multitude of benefits that traditional art does not. They help purify indoor air, reduce noise, regulate temperatures, boost moods, increase biodiversity, and require relatively low maintenance. Living walls evolve over time in exciting new ways, while traditional art remains static. For businesses looking to revitalise their environments, living walls are an adaptable, eco-friendly, and inspiring investment.
Encourage businesses to consider adopting this green trend for their commercial spaces.
More companies should strongly consider incorporating living walls into their commercial spaces. The research clearly shows the positive impacts of biophilic design on human health, productivity, and wellbeing. Living walls provide the ideal way to integrate nature into urban environments. For any business looking to create a healthier, more inspiring space for their customers and employees, adopting living walls is an excellent decision that will provide returns for years to come.
The green wall trend is growing rapidly for good reason. Businesses that embrace this movement will reap rewards in employee satisfaction, customer experience, and environmental sustainability. The choice is clear – it’s time to use green as the new canvas and let living walls become the art that sustains us.
Call to Action
After learning about the multitude of benefits that living walls can provide for commercial spaces, it’s time to take action! Here are some tips on how you can explore installing a living wall in your own business or organisation:
Do Your Research
There are many factors to consider when installing a living wall, so make sure to do thorough research beforehand. Consult with living wall specialists to determine the best type, size, placement, and plant choices for your unique environment. Consider your budget, maintenance capabilities, and the look you want to achieve.
Visit Installations Firsthand
Seeing living walls in person can help inspire ideas. Visit local businesses, hotels, or other locations that have living wall installations. Observe how the walls complement and enhance their spaces. Talk to staff about their experiences caring for and benefiting from the living walls.
Large, intricate living walls can be costly. If new to the concept, consider starting with a small, simple installation to test it out. Many living wall companies offer leasing options too. Once familiar with caring for a starter wall, you can then expand in the future.
Partner with Experts
Reputable living wall companies, such as Aztec Plants, can guide you through every step of the process. They will assess your site, recommend appropriate plants and materials, handle installation, and provide ongoing maintenance if needed. Their expertise can help ensure your wall thrives.
Spread the Word
Once installed, let your customers know about your new living wall! Share photos on social media and your website. The wall can help reinforce your brand image as an innovative, eco-conscious business.
With proper planning and care, integrating natural beauty through living walls can reinvigorate your commercial space. A lush, vibrant living wall serves as a prominent feature that wows visitors and provides daily benefits for years to come. The possibilities are endless when green becomes your new canvas!