By Stu Robarts
The benefits to health and wellbeing of having plants and greenery around an office are well documented. This project by Ingameoffice is more than just a few pot plants, though. Its TYJ Office Building refurbishment uses a vertical planting system in which plants can be moved around.
The "Green Wall" system was part of a broader refurbishment to the TYJ offices, but is perhaps the feature that most stands out, and is reminiscent of other planted walls, such as the installation at Edmonton International Airport. Large grids of sealed, interconnected piping make up various large, and sometimes multi-level, walls into which plants can be slotted. The grids of piping make for a pleasantly structured pattern that is softened with the planting. The piping also allows water to be pumped to the plants with the necessary nutrients added in.
The plants are set into special pots that slot into pools in the system at about 20 cm (7.9 in) intervals. Cotton threads run through the pots to draw water up into the soil from the pools, much like plant roots do. Moreover, the system can be built into different shapes and office workers are able to "unplug" plants for use on their desks, with the option to change plants as and when they fancy.
The TYJ implementation is installed on the west side of the company's offices in Shenzhen, China, allowing the plants to benefit from exposure to afternoon sunlight. It also provides shade for the offices when the sun is at its most intense helping to save on air conditioning requirements.
As well as the positive mental effect greenery has on office workers, the plants also "clean" the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen. The system is clean and low maintenance and the plant pots are made from recycled materials.