saving plant displays
The benefits of using
plants are well known and explained in some depth elsewhere
on this web site. But what if you don't have much
space to use? Office floor space in some cities
is very expensive, so it makes sense to get the most
productivity out of it. Where can the plants go?
latest fashion in plant displays is for tall, narrow
containers with shorter plants. Often displayed in pairs,
these complement the sleek lines of modern interior
furnishings. Typically, these containers have a footprint
of less than 30 cm X 30 cm (1 ft X 1 ft), which is similar
to that of a waste paper basket. Other examples include
narrow troughs with a width of less than 20 cm (8”).
The relatively small
opening for the plants limits the sizes of plants that
can be used. However, displays where the container is
taller than the plant still look pleasing, as these
office has filing cabinets and cupboards, the tops of
which are ideal places for plants. They will help soften
the edges of the cabinets and can make the space seem
bigger. This is achieved by leading the eye away from
the hard top edge of the cabinet and taking it to view
the space beyond. In a large office with several ranks
of cabinets, the effects can be quite dramatic.
Plant displays for
such locations do have their own particular maintenance
requirements. Access is not always straightforward and
a stepladder may be required. However, irrigation systems
built into the plant displays allow watering intervals
to be extended to upwards of three weeks.
offices are very common in some parts of the World,
especially in North America. Whilst they make efficient
use of space and provide a limited amount of privacy
for office workers, they can be dull and monotonous.
The only view from a cubicle is of the ceiling or through
a doorway to another cubicle wall. The spaces between
the ranks of cubicles form corridors. These are
narrow and do not lend themselves to having floor-standing
plant displays, which in any case would not be visible
to the vast majority of the occupants of the office
alternative is to use specially made cubicle-top plant
containers. A good example is the ‘Topsiders’
range from the USA. These allow plants to be placed
on the edges or corners of cubicle walls and provide
all cubicle occupants with a plant to call their own.
Trailing plants are often used, but there is no reason
why a full range of small plants can’t be used,
including coloured and flowering plants.
As with cabinet-top plants, maintenance of the displays
may require the use of a set of steps. However, modern
care techniques mean that disruption can be minimized
as maintenance intervals can be extended.
plant displays are common in corridors and hallways,
but also in offices and in places such as restaurants
and cafeterias. The most common shape of container is
a half-moon and is similar in shape to a lot of uplighters
used for illumination. However, more interesting shapes
are now available, such as this wall sconce from Australia.
plant containers have a limited volume. There is little
room for compost and only small plants are appropriate.
Another factor to consider is the load bearing capability
of the wall. Usually, if the wall is strong enough for
a light unit or a picture, then there should not be
a problem. However, it is a factor that must always
are often the only personal space office workers can
claim and customize to their own preferences.
Many people bring in their own 'pet plants' but there
is no reason why professionally installed and maintained
displays can't be accommodated. There is now a
wide range of good quality plants and containers that
are ideal for desktops that will complement corporate
colour schemes and design styles as well as providing
a benefit to the staff in the building.
the way, there is some evidence that office staff will
take greater pride in their workspace if they are given
a greater say in the choice of furnishings, fittings
and decoration (including plants).
screens and room dividers
The space in open
plan offices is frequently divided by screens, either
to provide a limited amount of privacy or to segregate
different functions within the space. These screens
are often ugly and can be expensive. Some screens
are available that incorporate plants into their design,
such as the examples shown below.
|Office partition using replica
wheat grass plants
'Eco-Wall' ™ - A living plant screen marketed
Rentokil Tropical Plants South Africa.
screens are also beneficial in noisy offices as some
are able to absorb some sounds. See our article
on the acoustic benefits of plants.
If there really
is no room for plants in the office, then try to ensure
that everyone has a view of some greenery. Atriums
are often overlooked by offices and these spaces are
ideal for plant displays.