Living Walls – The Ultimate Trend in Green Design
While new buildings in urban environments mean losing green space, there is an increased need for freshness that resides in intriguing and ingenious means of implementing green systems within interior spaces. Both art form and environmental awareness, the living wall – also known as green wall, plant wall, bio wall or vertical garden – is a vertical application of unique indoor garden elements.
This natural wall, either free-standing or part of a building, consists of a structural frame, partially or completely covered with vegetation, soil and inorganic growing mediums. Its permeability that allows air to pass through and its integrated irrigation systems enable this indoor greenery to thrive from season to season or year to year, making it suitable for all nature lovers and home gardeners.
Vertical gardens began in 1988 as an experiment by the French botanist, Patrick Blanc, which developed into the intent of creating a garden without dirt. Mr. Blanc, who was inspired by the tropical rain-forest he had studied, developed the living wall system as part of his effort to bring greenery into cities. “When you live in towns, you don’t always go into gardens”, he said. “It’s really important to use empty spaces to invite nature into town”.
Green walls, like other interior plants, not only bring a slice of nature to the unnatural, but they also have environmental benefits, in addition to the obvious aesthetic appeal. Living walls are primarily composed of plants that absorb and filter our airborne toxins. Being also means for water reuse, the plants purify slightly polluted water (such as greywater), by absorbing the dissolved nutrients. Moreover, living walls reduce ambient temperatures and provide thermal insulation and acoustical control.
Aside from being space efficient by allowing good use of the available vertical surface areas, living walls provide environmental solutions in a manner consistent with conservation and sustainability.
No wonder they are becoming increasingly popular in interior spaces such as office buildings, personal home settings, department stores, airports, restaurants and so forth. It should be clear, though, that these natural installations require a lot of patience and respect when it comes to appropriate irrigation, lighting, nutrition and plant choice, in order to enjoy them all year round.
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