Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bringing the Green Indoors: Beyond Humbolt County

For centuries, naturalists have want to live, work and play among the flowers.

Why?

Well, the answer is simple.

The mere presence of nature in an indoor setting acts as a powerful agent of calm, emboldening the porliferation of atmospheres contradictory to that of a-typical office/home/leisure habitats. Add a few plants and a water feature, and what was once a "daily grind" is now a workplace oasis. Spruce up a wall treatment with live foliage and open some windows for natural ventilation, and what was once flourecent and cold is now lush and tropical. Sick buildings are getting better, and good buildings are getting great.

With the growing resurgence in the popularity of greenspace --in addition to the numerous quests for modernity and LEED points-- I was interested in seeing how much decoration and design was now being centered on the interior, rather than the landscaped, space.

Not surprisingly, there are literally thousands of new products catering to the urban gardener/ horticulturalist/resident/emplyee/designer. Some are unique, some enhance user experience, and some even heal.

Others are, well, just a little loopy.

This post samples 10 concepts or products that bring the green behind your front door (and I need to say that I've had so much fun visiting and revisiting some of these concepts, that I might just do this again).

Eco Ball Garden Chair by Krejci

The Dutch designer's dual-purpose Eco Ball will be offered in eco-friendly materials: recycled plastic, biodegradeable plastic and shredded wood, binded together with biodegradable adhesive.

Green Fortune Plantwall at Uppsala Konsert & Kongress

This vertical application of greenery provides a powerful impact on the envirnonment where it is built. It is almost like being outside inside. Plantwall can be varied both in size and shape. Depending on the size of the wall and the impact you want to create the choice of plants can be adjusted. It is possible to create a sophisticated wall that keeps its look over time, as well as a wild, heavily growing wall.

The Fung + Blatt Lawnchair

...fabricated from renewable materials of steel, rubber and felt, and then finished with a layer of sod or ground cover. It is contoured for comfort and fully functional. Before sod, the chaise body weighs 25 lbs. and can be shipped dissembled from its base. When “upholstered” with sod, the lawnchair is easily movable by two people. The lawnchair is equipped with a built-in “moisturizing” system that promotes even distribution of moisture under the sod, thereby minimizing evaporation and run-off.

Living Wall Planters

This innovative growing system graces penthouse apartments in Paris and chic restaurants in Italy. It's easy to see why; no other plant display creates such drama while being so easy to maintain. These wall-mounted and freestanding models are an easy way to add a breathtaking plant display to your home. Each kit includes the planting grid, top and bottom trays, a cedar frame, mounting hardware and complete instructions.

Interior Weeds by Arwin Caljouw

Interior Weeds is a project about nature. The way that weeds emerge and grow in the streets, are for designer Arwin Caljouw a beautiful thing. It shows the power of plants in the human environment. With the center piece you can create an interior plantation from street weeds or other personal selection of plants. The graphic tiles are an addition to a plain tile collection, which you might apply in a random and unique way. Being aware of our environment is the starting point for this project.

Indoor Grass Planters by Metaphys

The Metaphys products are designed with the common idea and they are consistent with the idea even though different companies produce the products: the idea is that all the creative process should start from "observation." By observing things, you have the perspectives of the second and the third persons, and thereby you can avoid being subjective. [Here]

Wallplant Presentations by Christopher Steele

Metal objects used around plants must be selected very carefully and prepared for planting. Many metals form toxic salts on their surface when exposed to air and water. These salts may build up and kill any plant life that comes in contact.

So why plant on metal anyway? For me it represents the wabi-sabi nature of existence. Changing and decaying. The persistence of life transcending technology.

The Outdoor Room - Steven Harris Architects

The building's interior organization is driven by its unique south facing rear yard which is enclosed by blind 35 foot high walls, creating a condition of total privacy. This allows the rear fa├žade to be completely transparent. It also makes a private outdoor room that serves as an extension of the living and dining spaces; entry to it is across a marble slab that bridges a reflecting pond. [$16.5 million]

Folding Greenhouse by Daniel Schipper

A light-weight, flexible, modular greenhouse especially suitable for small spaces like cityhouses, balconies, roof terraces or town gardens. My folding greenhouse is a frameless folding construction made of different components of recyclable plastic which can be folded flat or expand when required.

Schiavello Vertical Garden by Joost Baker

The ethereal beauty of the found product... metals and petals. Joost Bakker, a sculptor who uses leaf and flower, raw steel and discarded objects among his construction materials. "I'm not really into luxurious finishes, I like using things that people perceive as ugly", says Joost. Vertical Garden is a sculptural, almost architectural form, allowing leaf and flower to inhabit spaces, to create spaces, with a natural raw beauty.