Flexible. Sustainable. Transformational.
For my visit exploring material innovations and sustainability, I went to take a look at a very special wall that was installed at the Regent Street store Anthropologie (Urban Outfitters); a living wall. Biotecture, established in 2007, is a designer and supplier of hydroponic, modular living wall systems and are based in the UK but also work with partners in Scandinavia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Their vision is to transform urban architecture for the well-being of people and the planet through innovative use of vertical greening, working from small to large scale and for private as well as public and commercial clients.
For Anthropologie’s first and flagship European store, the brand decided to make this store special. The 160m2 indoor living wall fills the full height of the retail space (over 3 levels- 15 meters high). It creates an eye-catching scenery to the store’s diverse and creative presentation mode. Biotextures living walls operate on their hydroponic system, which brings a new level of sustainability through intelligent water management and stable system dynamics. This is because over 80% of the water used is rain water and thus sourced from a rainwater harvesting tank in the basement of the building. The wall’s sustainability is also emphasized by the design and growing manner of the plants as the hydroponic mehtod of construction wins over alternative vertical plant growing methods. Their panel-based system is very flexible to suit any size or shape installation. When walking up or down the stairs, I felt a strong urge to stroke the plants, due to their dynamic appearance. The plants are arranged in dynamic drifts across the width of the living wall. Interweaving ribbons of grass, ferns and foliage plants make a striking combination that is hard to miss. Biotecture based their design for this specific living wall on a fluid interpretation of woven cloth, relating to what the store offers to the customers. The plant species featured on this living wall have positive effects on improving air quality, such as the plants called ‘Peace Lily’ and ‘Spider Plant’, the best for air quality improvement.
“Anthropologie’s new store does not disappoint. We were particularly taken by the ‘living wall’, a verdant spectacle climbing down the main wall.” – Vogue, October 2009
In my opinion, the living wall is a beautiful and striking feature of the store and provides a nice break to the solid facades of other walls, due to the various textures and the dynamic design of the plants. Additionally, a living wall has a calming effect upon the atmosphere of the store, which is beneficial during busy times. I really like the idea of installing more greening in big cities like London, where green areas are disappearing more and more. Vertical greening is a solution that should be praised by citizens as this evokes an imporved air quality in the long run and brings back nature.
Biotecture. (2017). Anthropologie, Regent Street | Biotecture. [online] Available at: http://www.biotecture.uk.com/portfolio/anthropologie-regent-street/ [Accessed 4 Nov. 2017].
Biotecture. (2017). Living Walls | Biotecture. [online] Available at: http://www.biotecture.uk.com/living-walls/ [Accessed 4 Nov. 2017].
Thelondonmagazine.co.uk. (2017). The London Magazine. [online] Available at: http://www.thelondonmagazine.co.uk/interiors-gardens/gardens/living-walls.html [Accessed 4 Nov. 2017].