Living Walls Bring Beauty and Serenity Indoors

April 22, 2019

Living walls, also known as green walls, are—quite literally—sprouting up in interiors across all building types. They’re a design element that attempts to bring a bit of the outdoors indoors.

Living walls are—quite literally—sprouting up in interiors across all building types. They’re a design element that attempts to bring a bit of the outdoors indoors. GSky Plant Systems Inc. has designed living walls for such spaces as building lobbies, boardrooms, stairways and employee relaxation rooms.

Its Versa Wall is praised for its ease of use when installing and maintaining—with no mess.

Paraiso Bay

(Photo: Paraiso Bay)

The product uses a tray system (suitable for interiors) made of 4-inch potted plants that are automatically irrigated and fed every 10 to 12 days for efficiency. The tray system allows for dead plants to be easily replaced and for clients to change the design of the wall.

“They’re calming and make people want to sit or congregate in that area,” says Debbie Kotalic, director of horticulture design for GSky. “One thing that happens when a green wall goes in is no matter what, there are more photos taken in that area.”

Three Ravinia Drive

Located in Atlanta, this 31-story skyscraper isn’t your average office complex. To help create a nature-inspired lobby, GSky designed a 50-by-50 Versa Wall.

(Photo: Along with the Versa Wall, GSky also incorporated eight 20-foot-tall Ficus Amstel King trees and several other planter boxes inside the lobby of Three Ravinia Drive in Atlanta. “When you're walking near the wall, the air is cooler,” says Kotalic.)

The huge project called for about 20,000 plants from five different plant varieties. The building originally had interior gardens, but when the floor space was needed, the Versa Wall became an apt replacement. The plants curve downward, giving off a waterfall effect.

[More living walls: Living Walls Put the ‘Green’ in Greenbuild]

“In a large space like that, [the wall] helps with noise control, so you don’t have an echoing effect,” Kotalic says. “The plants will absorb some of that.”

Royal Botanic Garden

This Versa Wall was commissioned by the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney for its bicentennial celebrations.

(Photo: The Royal Botanic Garden’s massive Versa Wall in Syndey changes designs regularly. This colorful design was for a free floral display called All About Flowers, which was a part of the Vivid Sydney festival.)

The Calyx (the garden’s center for horticulture, science and education) houses a Versa Wall that’s about 167 feet long and nearly 20 feet high. It comprises more than 18,000 plants.

[On topic: Green Wall Gave Life to this Parking Garage]

Because the tray system allows for easy design changes, the garden switches out plants on a six- to nine- month basis as a way to promote new programs and exhibits.

Long Island Marriott

Inside the lobby of a Marriott in Long Island, NY, stands a 367-square-foot Versa Wall with 2,350 tropical green plants from five different plant varieties. A wooden border surrounds the perimeter, evoking the look of a picture frame. Some plants grow out farther than others.

(Photo: If you’re ever at this Marriott in Long Island, Kotalic suggests viewing it from the side, where you’ll see much of the wall’s depth and dimension.)

“As [the wall] grows, it shows a lot of depth, dimension and texture,” says Kotalic. “It’s such a natural look, as if you were looking into a wooded forest.”

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About the Author

Sarah Kloepple | Associate Editor

Sarah joined the BUILDINGS team as an associate editor in August 2018. She is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, where her focus was magazine writing. She's written and edited for numerous publications in her hometown of St. Louis.

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