Wall of Plants Brings Natural Benefits Under Artificial Light

wall of plants

If you come from a cramped apartment via malodorous subways to your industrial-chic office building to sit and gaze at a glowing screen all day, that floundering spider plant in the corner of your cubicle just doesn’t cut it when it comes to bringing in some much-needed greenery into your life.

That’s why the employees at this company are fortunate enough to have innovatively designed walls of vegetation located throughout their building; in total, the walls add up to 600 square feet and are made from over 900 living, “breathing” plants. The installation by the NYC landscape design firm Blondie’s Treehouse Inc. includes specimens of Agleonema, Pothos, Philodendron, Boston fern, Warneckii, bird’s nest fern and Janet Craig Compacta. The maintenance of these growing greens takes four to six hours weekly.

Yet, much like humans, plants are not made to thrive under fluorescent, man-made lights. To keep these plants properly “fed” by a light source that would also amp up the aesthetic appeal, Blondie’s Treehouse turned to Jon-Carlo Marras of Marras Illumination, a full-service landscape lighting design firm, and interior lighting designer Emily Gorecki. Using the plant information to determine the appropriate angle and strength of the lights, Marras created a design that also enhanced the existing architecture of the space.

Marras found that, because there are so many manufacturers and fixtures to select from in interior lighting, he could create the appropriate spectral distribution of light needed to stimulate growth and to produce photosynthesis in the plants. For three of the plant walls, Marras used double Gimbal Ring PAR38 flood luminaires, which he paired with LED bulbs that are suspended by aircraft cables. On a fourth wall, a different ceiling angle required that Marras utilize wall-mounted cantilevered linear fluorescent lights.

Even in the fast-paced, digitally-driven world of technology, humans are still more connected to natural and organic elements than they are to synthetic ones (as much as some may try to deny it). Even though it is almost impossible to duplicate the true experience of being in nature, an organic installation such as this Green Wall can do wonders for improving physical and psychological well-being in even the most man-made workplace environments.

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