Revolutionary Vertical Gardens
Siam Paragon Vertical Garden
With the dream of bringing lush greenery to urban spaces, and reimagining the concept of the "built environment," architects have been establishing vertical gardens (aka living walls) all over the world. The plants in vertical gardens help absorb toxins in the air, regulate moisture, reduce reflection of light and heat, and they may even be used to grow a little food. They also add beauty and interest, and can have a calming effect on spaces.
Contemporary vertical landscaping was invented by Patrick Blanc, a French botanist who developed the idea after studying tree- and cliff-dwelling plants in the tropics. Blanc has made many installations around the world, including this terraced work in the Siam Paragon shopping center in Bangkok. Read on to see other innovative examples of this growing trend.
Patrick Blanc's Paris Wall
Patrick Blanc's living wall for the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris has become a world famous tourist attraction. Blanc's vertical gardens are composed of three parts: a metal frame that can attach to a wall or be free standing, a thin (and waterproof) PVC sheet and a layer of tough polyamide felt, which conducts water evenly and supports plant roots. An automated system applies water from the top, which is fortified with nutrients to feed the plants.
Starbucks Living Wall
Living walls come in many shapes, sizes and colors. They can work well indoors or outdoors, such as on this Starbucks on 4th Avenue in Seattle. According to Patrick Blanc, when properly installed, vertical gardens require little maintenance.
Living Wall Kits
Smith & Hawken displayed these gorgeous vertical garden kits at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, promoting a DIY take on the concept. You don't need massive surfaces, or famous designers, to plant your own.
Madrid Living Wall
Living walls can also be massive public works that serve as artistic and natural focal points, such as this big vertical garden in Madrid.
Melbourne Center Shot Tower
A vertical garden flourishes under the world's largest glass cone in the Melbourne Center in Australia, right next to the historic shot tower (also the world's largest). Shot towers were used to produce perfectly round ammunition by dropping the molten metal down several stories. Today Melbourne Center is a bustling shopping and office district.
Taiwan Vertical Garden
Vertical gardens are spreading around the world, from Europe to America and Asia, including this beautiful example in Taiwan.
Living Walls as Art
Vertical gardens can provide living palettes for art that beautifies and refreshes. With thousands of types of plants to choose from, there is a rainbow of possibilities.
Living walls can also be shaped into graphic patterns, such as this representation of Quetzalcoatl in Mexico City.
Galeries Lafayette Berlin
Vertical gardens can also be used as unique advertisements, such as this Patrick Blanc creation for the Galeries Lafayette in Berlin.