In honor of spring, thoughts on the awe inspiring botanical world and its role in our workspaces and lives. / by Helen Zouvelekis

Humans have been connected to, learning from, and fascinated by plant life for thousands of years. It was common for explorers and botanists to head out on voyages to make detailed maps and collect plant life from Brazil, Tahiti, and other exotic lands, filling greenhouse collections with bountiful, curated, living horticultural treasures. Most notably, English naturalist and botanist Sir Joseph Banks advised King George III on the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. By sending botanists around the world to collect plants, Kew evolved into the world’s leading botanical gardens.

The Palm House at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Top left-A leopard orchid.

Plants have been used as a means of healing for thousands of years. Today we think of chamomile tea to aid in relaxation or aloe vera for skin irritations. There is much to learn from the botanical world. It is especially important for those of us who live and work in cities and have little contact with nature.

It’s been proven that interaction with plant life reduces stress and enhances our experience, mood, and happiness.

 Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

With the Biophilia I feature, The WELL Building Standard promotes the importance of our psychological need to be around natural elements and encourages innate human-nature interactions within a building or project. In addition to cleaning the air, plant life can add much needed color and organic beauty to a space. We are happy to see that people are catching on and plants are integrated into all types of projects ranging from Colombian coffee roasters, Devocion's Brooklyn coffee shop, to Melissa, the Brazilian footwear brand located in NYC's Soho neighborhood.

Beyond the ultra-modern flashy showroom, Melissa's ‘Green-Room’ is a more restrained dark environment meant for closer interactions with sales associates.

 Melissa’s Green Room

Melissa’s Green Room

 Cafe Devocion - Plantwall Williamsburg

Cafe Devocion - Plantwall Williamsburg

 Cafe Devocion 

Cafe Devocion 

Etsy’s DUMBO Brooklyn headquarters has over 11,000 plants installed. In addition to five large-scale living walls, botanic company Greenery NYC designed and installed low-maintenance growing systems for Etsy's workspace.

 Etsy's Brooklyn Headquarters

Etsy's Brooklyn Headquarters

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Our project for Bacardi-Martini Inc. includes the design of two terraces where strawberries, blueberries, mint, basil, and other herbs used in cocktail preparation are planted. The Bacardi-Martini employees delight in cultivating and enjoying the seasonal produce.

  Bacardi-Martini Inc. Terraces

Bacardi-Martini Inc. Terraces

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I dream of being surrounded by planted, edible, green space and flowers everywhere I go which is why I advocate for greening indoor environments including workspaces, restaurants, retail stores, NYC’s subway system, and of course, our homes.

 

 Ámbar Margarida

Ámbar Margarida