They may not be new, but there seems to be a resurgence of late in the use of vertical gardens within retail environments. Having seen the remodelled Replay store, designed by Studio 10 architects, on a recent visit to the Barcelona, we have since noticed a new movement towards in-store living walls.
The first and probably the most effective example of a hanging garden used in store that I saw was in Anthropologie on Regent Street, London. The verdant backdrop falling through the core of the building, adjacent to the central staircase connecting the floors, is flooded with natural light from the skylight above. The textures and warmth it introduces, and its juxtaposition with the industrial staircase in front, adds to its effectiveness and plays up the surprise of seeing this living wall cascading in front of you from above. It’s a soft green signal for the customer of the brand’s commitment to environmental matters.
Recently at i-Bank in Athens (the new express branch format for the National Bank of Greece), we saw the living wall used to draw customers through the branch – a contrast from the technology-driven face the branch portrays from the entrance. Here at D&P we’ve used green walls recently in our Paris department store concept in Santiago, Chile. Each entrance features the Paris logo against a living backdrop – a fantastic differentiator that sets the tone of this experimental and forward-thinking South American brand.
When properly installed and, most importantly, maintained, living walls are a welcome introduction into a retail environment. With their air quality-enhancing effect and positive emotional connections back to nature, we love them and would encourage more brands to live green.