Over the past decade the concept of interior landscaping has evolved from being an afterthought to an integral part of a well-designed workplace.
No longer satisfied with a lonely peace lily at reception, indoor plants are now thoughtfully integrated into offices to become the feature of a communal space, an impressive entrance statement, or to create privacy and softness between workstations.
This new found reverence for indoor plants is based on a growing understanding of the positive impact that nature has on our creativity, our stress levels and our happiness.
Adding to this is an increased awareness of how to care for indoor plants, advances in grow light technology and planter and pot designs that bring interior landscape design into the 21st century.
Plants have always been at the centre of our workplace designs because of the unexpected joy and liveliness they bring to what can otherwise be a predictable and sterile world. We use plants to create spaces that are playful and natural, abundant with different textures, shapes and colours – something fresh and alive, to care for and watch grow over the years. There is something very rewarding about the way people react to lush interior planting, for some reason plants surprise and delight in a way that inanimate objects cannot, particularly when they are used in unusual ways, or integrated into the overall interior design scheme.
An understanding of species that can survive and thrive in a workplace environment is critical as offices are harsher than residential environments, due to the deeper floor plans with less natural light and intense air conditioning. In terms of dependability you can’t go past philodendrons; large philodendron Congos look great in pots with their upright glossy broad leaves, and philodendron cordatums (heart leaf philodendron) are perfect for a smaller hanging pots, with their impressive trailing, climbing and spreading tendrils. Monstera deliciosa and taureii are classic and robust feature plants with large distinct leaves that fill a space effectively. Aspidistra elatior (cast iron plants) have a simple and elegant silhouette, and are tough as nails. Closer to windows we love to use ficus elastica burgundy (rubber plant), rhipsalis baccifera and philodendron selloum, also known as philodendron hope.
We also find experimenting with more exotic and delicate species really rewarding. Over the past 24 months we have painstakingly established tarlmournia elliptica vines, traditionally found cascading down walls in Bali and other tropical climates to create a 6m x 2m indoor trailing green curtain in an office in the CBD, it was tough, but with enough TLC and patience the vines fill the glass wall like a waterfall.
Words by Alice from Fresh Prince Studio
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