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Architects – Should ‘plants’ be part of your design?

Architects – Should ‘plants’ be part of your design?

It’s quite normal to walk into an office and be greeted by foliage. For decades, office properties have been home to potted plants of virtually every size, shape and species imaginable, from spiky cacti and sprawling ivy to trimmed topiary.

But walk into some of the most modern and innovative office spaces and you might notice something a little different. Plants aren’t just dotted around anymore – instead, they’re becoming an integral and central part of the office space design.

Kate Mason, associate at architect firm Scott Brownrigg, says that planting is becoming part of the design rather than an afterthought. “We’re seeing a lot of indoor gardens,” she said, according to The Guardian. “They have created these in the offices in the Shard, for example.
We’re also working for a couple of large clients where we’re putting in living walls.” Mason puts this enthusiasm for greenery down to the trend in workspace design.  It reflects more of a domestic style, because of “the blurring of the boundaries between home and work”.

Jenny MacDonnell, director of research at the British Council for Offices, which promotes workplace design to improve productivity, points towards research that suggests “having plants in offices is a good thing. It makes people more productive, happier, reduces stress, and helps reduce dust particles in the air.”

Butch Deedman, Director of Deedman Interior Landscape Specialists agrees: “A a lot of research has been done in recent years on how planting affects individuals. The companies we have done work for have a maintenance budget and they understand the benefits as well as the importance of design and maintenance.”

The Coalition governement obviously sees the benefits. The ministry of Defense have spent £14,000 on pot plants since the coalition took office. The Department of Health spent nearly £12,400 in just 10 months to March last year according to a article in The Guardian.