Hello, its me again, Daniel… and my story begins where I left off last time looking for new and even “greener” pastures in design.
Living in Manhattan, we often can become detached from nature. Coming originally from upstate New York, and growing up being surrounded by farms and corn fields, I have always tried to incorporate plants and flowers into my spaces. Like many city dwellers, one of my favorite plants is the orchid. I have enjoyed their presence in my life for many years and use them as a center piece in my personal internal NYC garden. A little attention to this lovely plant goes a long way and just may inspire you to develop a green thumb.
Recently the NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN opened its ANNUAL ORCHID SHOW designed by PATRICK BLANC, a revered vertical garden designer. Following my recent experience with the green wall at STUDIO 26 ( see STUDIO 26…HOW GREEN IS YOUR GYM? ), and my love of orchids, I was so excited to check out this show.
OMG... these tapestries are truly awe inspiring. BLANC has been “growing” in popularity and I can see why. The soft organic walls of plant material are a welcome relief from the typical steel, glass and concrete we are accustomed to. As one walks thru what seem like a tropical jungle right here in our own city you could not help but feel the amazing energy given off by the plants and flowers.
I never realized there were so many types of orchids too. Orchids are the largest family of flowering plants and there are more types of them than there are types of mammals! Many have cute nicknames aside from the genera name, one of my favorites being “Dancing Ladies” due to the silhouette the petals have.
Vertical gardens are great inspirations to us as designers going into the 21st century. We are seeing them in architecture more and more, a great example of this being that BLANC’S vertical gardens were incorporated into the architecture at the QUAI BRANLY MUSEUM in PARIS, designed by JEAN NOUVEL and the MARITHE & FRANCOIS GIRBAUD BOUTIQUE here in MANHATTAN.
Green walls aside from looking beautiful help to moderate internal climates, reducing the need for heating and air conditioning. They also aid in the collection of rainwater, mitigate the heat island effect in urban areas (cities are, on the average, hotter due to heat absorption by concrete and asphalt), as well as create habitats for small animals, like butterflies, lady bugs and small birds. These walls are one big step forward in reducing your carbon foot print. Who knows one day we might not be able to tell where Central Park begins and where it ends! The time is at hand for our man made world to strike a balance with the natural one and end the stand off.
I am hoping as interior designers we can take a lead in showing people the importance of plants and flowers in interior spaces. Not just as the final incidental home décor item but as a sustainable integral living element that keeps on giving a breath of fresh air… literally!