Patrick Blanc – A Madly Inspiring Scientist & Artist

Green wall, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Patrick Blanc – A Madly Inspiring Scientist & Artist, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Back in February, I traveled to Cleveland to hear Patrick Blanc speak on the Science, Architecture and Design of Vertical Gardens. The Shaker Lakes Garden Club hosted the event in which Patrick spoke for a full two hours and shared hundreds of images and projects. Patrick is the person responsible for vertical gardening across the world, with the inspiration and foundation starting as a boy in love with aquariums and providing the best environment for fish. What I think is missing in a lot of main stream articles about Patrick is the fact he is a scientist first and foremost in botany and has spent a lifetime exploring the world studying and discovering new plant varieties. It is his vast knowledge and lifetime of passion and curiosity that as giving him the ability to be both the founder and maverick of the vertical gardening world.

Patrick Blanc – A Madly Inspiring Scientist & Artist, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

A private residence in Seoul, features green walls in a motor court that engulfs visitors and blurs the lines of the space. The birch trees are striking against the green backdrop. One of my favorite projects he has completed.

 

When he explains the systems, it all seems so simple and straight forward, but again that because of his expansive knowledge and experience. His walls can have hundreds of different plant species woven together, however each plant and placement is made based on the individual sight specifications such as direct sunlight based on surrounding structures. The irrigation systems are rigged to deliver water based on the wall placement. Indoor locations get shorter more frequent watering compared to outdoor spaces. He is also very specific in the nutrients added to the watering system, knowing the balance of the plants needing only a bit of some nutrients. Finally, maintenance should just be watching the watering and periodic trimming back if following his directions.

Patrick Blanc – A Madly Inspiring Scientist & Artist, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

(Posted information at the Shin-Yamaguchi Station in Japan showcasing the plants included (many native to the area), Patrick’s sketch for plant placement and the young plants of the wall to the left.)

 

Besides his ability to put is work into such simple terms to understand the basics of the system, is his ability to constantly be pushing what and where vertical gardens can be. Here are a few projects he shared that I enjoyed the most, but his website lists so many you should really explore.

 

His personal home, featuring a home office on a glass topped aquarium with green tendrils dripping down the walls, filled with frogs and birds. It is pretty magical in photos, can only imagine what it is like in person, especially in the evening with lighting in the aquarium. More photos of his residence are HERE)

Patrick Blanc – A Madly Inspiring Scientist & Artist, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Patrick Blanc – A Madly Inspiring Scientist & Artist, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Blank walls seem to be the logical place for a vertical garden, but this project for a free-standing sculpture covered was an aha thought, you don’t need a building with a blank wall to go vertical. (More photos of the Spiral at Chaumont Sur Loire HERE).

Patrick Blanc – A Madly Inspiring Scientist & Artist, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Another great example of thinking away from the empty wall, is this rainforest chandelier hanging down the center of a shopping mall in Bangkok.   (You can see more images of the project HERE)

Patrick Blanc – A Madly Inspiring Scientist & Artist, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

All the images on the post are from Patrick’s site, so I highly recommend you check it out and explore. A great tool is the project MAP, you can see where all the projects are located, maybe in you area during your future travels.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney

G A R D E N S, Garden Stores, Garden Structure, Garden Tours, gardening, Gardens, Green wall, Greenroofs, Inspiration, Landscape, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In early November, I traveled down to Orlando for the APLD 2014 International Design Conference (working on a recap post). On my last day I killed time walking around Downtown Disney before my flight home. The area is going through a phased redesign to become Disney Springs with completion in 2016. One of the new spaces already opened included Starbucks. The Starbucks owned store opened in June and is LEED certified like the previously opened store in Downtown Disney Anaheim. Apart of the LEED certification, the store features reclaimed materials, but of more interest to me is the green roof installed by Metro Verde.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood  Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This implementation is interesting because it features a retail company embracing green roofs on the individual store location level. The store’s green roof is 1,800 square feet, the roof is at most a tenth of the size to the other recent green roofs installed by retail giants like Walmart (40,600 sq feet in 2013) and Whole Foods (17,000 sq feet in 2013). The installation shows a commitment to the impact small scale incorporation of green spaces can have on the customers.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Even though customers cannot directly interact with the roof plantings, the grasses can be viewed from the ground and are a part of the full sensory experience. The roof also features LED lighting, which allows the plantings to be visible both day and night.  Metro Verde calculated the green roof produces enough oxygen per day for 4 people, not a huge impact environmental. However thinking about the swells of visitors the store will receive and exposure to plants used as key element of design, not after thought is pretty cool for a plant geek like myself.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

greenroofs.com

 

Grasses Used:

  • Dwarf Fakahatchee, Tripscaum floridnum
  • Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus

 

Another interesting part of the Starbucks green roof story is the use of their own coffee grounds in the soil medium at both the nursery growing the grasses and in the continued care of the plants. This story was apart of Starbucks’ press release and marketing within the store. It makes me smile because of all the bags of used coffee grounds (Grounds for Your Garden) I have carted from our Starbucks and place the garden beds at home.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Right next to the Starbucks was another key plant area, a reincarnation of New York City’s High Line. Without knowing anything about this project, the finished area completely evoked the feeling of the High Line. Once fully completed the area will be home to food trucks, seating and great vista viewing. Over all it will be interesting to watch as Disney and all the partners help transform the new Disney Springs area.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Here are some great Links on the Project for more details:

  • Greenroofs.com (Background on the project with vendors, project details, etc)
  • Greenroof.coffee (website devoted to this specific project with great background)
  • Starbucks.com (press release and additional photos on the project)

 

 

If you want to read more about implementing a green roof at home check out:

Small Green Roofs: Low-Tech Options for Greener Living

By Nigel Dunnett, Dusty Gedge, John Little and Edmund C. Snodgrass

 

Living Walls of Charlotte, NC

G A R D E N S, Green wall, Landscape Design

Early September we had our family vacation in Hilton Head, SC. Our drive from Ohio takes us through Charlotte, NC.  Previous years we have planned our lunch stop in Charlotte at Price’s Chicken Coop and a leg stretch at Capital to see their green wall by Patrick Blanc.  This year we have a ten month old, so decided to stay over night to break up the drive home and explore more of the city.  In the research of what to see in Charlotte I was surprised to find three living walls in addition to the one at Capitol, a high end boutique.  The living walls are spread across industries – small business, corporation/retail, non-for-profit and education.  It is great to see how a city is embracing living walls, and it inspires me to make Columbus the home to multiple living walls, but would be happy to start at one.

Capitol_Charlotte_Patrick_Blanc_Living_wall

Green wall from Capitol taken in 2011.

The green wall in Capital was designed by Patrick Blanc, who is the foremost leader in green wall designs. Laura Vinroot Poole , owner of Capital, and her architect husband requested the wall design by Blanc after meeting him at a party and being familiar with his work at the Pershing Hall Hotel in Paris in 2008.  Blanc also designed a green wall for the Foundation for the Carolinas, which features nearly 1,500 plants and 153 different species in 2011. Unfortunately we were in Charlotte on Saturday and the center was not open for us to request a view. Our photo is from the website of the Foundation.

The rooftop living wall at the Foundation for the Carolinas, via Patrick Blanc's Website

 

We also visited a green wall inside the local Whole Foods, which opened in 2012. What was interesting about this wall was how it was installed. Individual pots of plants were inserted inside a vertical system. There was a drip line irrigation to maintain, however this system allows for easy replacement of troubled plants. Here is a video of the store opening.

 

 

The final green wall we visited was at Queens University. I had a photo of this green wall on my inspiration board, but was not aware it was in Charlotte until we visited the campus. The 735 square-foot design features a double helix, a nod to its home on the Rodgers Science and Health Building.  The Design was by Ambius and was completed early 2013, who also did the green wall inside Longwood Gardens.

Queen's University Living Wall CharlotteLiving wall or Green wall at Queen's University Charlotte, NC

If you are staying in Charlotte, stay at the Ritz Charlton where you can add a tour of their green roof and seasonally home to a colony of bees to round out your living wall/roof tour of Charlotte.