In classical antiquity, there were seven ‘wonders’ of the world. One wonder, as you might well know, was a garden: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Among temples, statues, pyramids and lighthouses, a place half inside and half outside ranked as one of the world’s most impressive structures. After all, the marriage of nature and architecture – opposites meeting as equal partners – is undeniably striking. But below that visual stimulation rests potential health benefits, mental and physical — something our previous blog touched on.
Bringing two ends together can often work horticultural wonders
Fittingly, as myth and history have it, Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II built the gardens to accompany his grand palace. His wife, Queen Amytis, missed the hills and valleys of her homeland. Seemingly, separated from her mountainous domain, surrounded only by man-made patterns, Amytis’ humours suffered.
Perhaps you could say she was the original biophile. And much like the queen, we believe people need nature. In our cities, in our offices, in our homes (maybe in our hair, too!). Appreciating nature, biophilia, the love of living things, is surely the most natural habit around. One that’s especially juicy when botanicals are situated where you least expect them.
The Modern world’s biophilic answers to Babylon
The beautiful fusion of inside and out is clearly nothing new, nor is it going anywhere anytime soon. And there are many examples to examine. So, let’s look at the best of the bunch available to visit today– established wonders or otherwise.
1. Apple Park, Cupertino, USA
One of Steve Jobs’ last ‘product’ pitches was Apple’s second home, The Ring, which now sits in 175-acre Apple Park, Cupertino. The circular building, dubbed the ‘spaceship’, is composed of 800 curved
glass panels, each extending to 45 feet in height. Within The Ring, there’s a sprawling park of trees, lawns and even an orchard. The greenest office complex in the world and one of the largest, Apple’s campus is 100% powered by renewable energy. We think Queen Biophile would approve.
2. Karolinska Indoor Fitness Centre, Stockholm, Sweden
Karolinska Indoor Fitness Centre brings the outdoors inside with biophilic designs like oxygenating plants, forest aromatherapy and Japanese-style kokedama moss balls. Designed by Biofit, this new brand of jungle gym also makes use of wellness lighting and recycled materials. All technology is camouflaged by bamboo, and even the fitness equipment is a “capsule collection” of eco-friendly “workout toys”. All suiting the mood, look and feel of Stockholm’s mossy forest biophilic flexing.
3. Second Home, Lisbon, Portugal
Referred to as ‘an urban jungle’, Lisbon’s colourful co-working oasis, Second Home, is an elaborate maze of statuesque potted plants and a variety of Apple computers. Absorbing noise and separating spaces effectively, the office vegetation helps keep the feng shui on point while making for a happier atmosphere. “We’re big believers in biophilic design”, the company says. Because they know, in the words of Sir Tim Smit KBE speaking at Second Home, “being around green stuff makes humans happy. End of story.”
4. Foundry Square III, San Francisco, USA
We all know about flower beds, but what about flower walls? Well, San Fran’s Foundry Square III has two of them. Step into the lobby, and you’re faced with floor-to-ceiling glass panels with 12,500 plants behind them. This ‘Living Wall’ contrasts elegantly with the white bronze statues that stand before it. The “painterly swathes” of foliage make for a captivating backdrop to the clean wooden floors. Held in place by recycled water bottles, the plants enjoy a sophisticated irrigation system designed to keep them nourished, showing sustainability goes below the surface In Foundry Square.
Fleurtations installations situated around Scotland
One of ours, perhaps! If it’s not too plucky, we do have great pride in all our own installations. Whether it’s giving Edinburgh a floral welcome back to the Balmoral Hotel or bringing the AIG Women’s Open to life with vibrant plantscapes time and time again, we believe in the power of plants. If you do, too, why not get in touch?