Our 6 favourite green interiors.
The benefits of having plants and greenery in work, leisure and living spaces have been well researched. Architects and designers are more and more keen to introduce them into our indoor lives as a result of their air-cleaning, stress-reducing (among many other) qualities.
Here we chart some of our favourite green interiors from around the world.
‘Forests’ was a collaboration between architect Asif Khan, MINI, London Design Festival 2016, and design and fabrication group, Aldworth, James & Bond. The concept was to create a family of three pavillions in Shoreditch, East London, that were filled with plants, forming an immersive and tranquil mini environment that contrasted the busy, concrete surroundings and invited people to take a minute away from it.
OFF WHITE, HONG KONG
Off White, the Milan-based luxury streetwear label founded by Virgil Abloh expanded his reach into the Asian market in late 2014 by opening its first store in Hong Kong. The longtime creative consultant to Kanye West and the rapper’s phenomenally successful Yeezy collections, Abloh’s design venture is proving to be as successful as West’s.
Off White’s space is smaller than most of the surrounding units from brands like COMME des GARÇONS and McQ by Alexander McQueen. Its entrance, unbranded except for the label’s distinctive monochrome stripes, opens up into a tropical micro-forest of lush ferns, waxy broad leaves and wall creepers which feast on the water dripping from pipes above. No clothing.
After a few strides through the verdure into the back half of the store, light (off-white, of course) blocks display minimal selections of the brands streetwear-inspired threads and accessories. Folded on or hung against them, or mid-floor on golden rails, the collections manage to contrast but complement the stark space.
After months of renovation, Apple re-opened its Regent Street store in Central London to eagerly awaiting customers. The 12-year-old store was the first European outpost for Apple and its re-design by architects Foster + Partners embrace the Californian tech giant’s new store format. Featuring three areas – the avenue, boardroom and forum – the space has been opened up, removing the imposing mezzanine level and filling the bright space, lit through the large windows of the grade-II listed building and expanse of illuminated ceiling.
The store has a calm setting, with a bright open plan that allows customers to flood the space without it feeling overwhelmed. An increased height allows for a more discreet mezzanine level – reached by a sand-blasted stone staircase – and twelve tall Ficus Ali trees to be positioned on the ground floor ‘avenue’, bringing nature into the unabashedly artificial and high-tech interior space. The grove of trees have planters – again designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with Apple’s ID Studio – that act as a seating area to rest, take in the impressive space, and wait for your Genius appointment.
AMPERSAND BUILDING, LONDON
Set within the Ampersand, an office building in London’s Soho built for creative technology businesses and already home to King, the creators of Candy Crush, lies (or stands) a four-storey “living” staircase. The spiral structure has plants the length of its ballustrade and each floor has a central circular area – one is a mini library, one a tea station where you can pick and make your own mint tea – that is designed to promote impromptu interactions with colleagues.
Built without a central column, the staircase doesn’t block light and complements the modern white and glass atrium. The bright, modern building’s glass ceiling means that the plants thrive and make it ever-changing.
Located in the Marais district of Paris, Merci’s deceivingly unassuming entrance at 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais opens up into a beautiful couryard that is filled with green. Trees, trailers, herbs, flowers – and a old Fiat 500 – call the courtyard home and welcome you before you step into the store or the adjoining café or bookshop. In the main atrium of the retail space, changing exhibitions are displayed (currently ‘Imparfait’, an exhibition of imperfect objects) and this often acts as an extension to the courtyard, especially in summer months.
ATOCHA RAILWAY STATION, MADRID
When thinking of an indoor garden, Kew or any other botanic garden seems the obvious choice. But a train station? Madrid’s Atocha Station – one of Madrid’s busiest – boasts a garden of more than 7,000 plants, representing 260 species, in its main concourse. The selection of plants from around the world creates a calming atmosphere and cleaner air, absorbing some of the noise of the busy commuters rushing through the 19th century building. The pond within the garden is also home to many fish and – best of all – a turtle sanctuary.