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Industry insights

5 reasons why plants are the super hero of interior design.

There's nothing like enjoying the great outdoors. Taking time out to explore city parks or rural forests, whatever it is, our encounters with greenery have a positive impact on our lives. So it's not surprising that the demand for the green, and good is growing in our interiors spaces too. Domestic, commercial, hospitality, nowhere can escape the surge of ivy, spider plants and ferns, but here we look at the facts, why are plants so good for us and our designs?

Harlan & Holden Glasshouse Café, Manila, the Philippines by GamFratesi. Photography by Patrick Diokno.
Harlan & Holden Glasshouse Café, Manila, the Philippines by GamFratesi. Photography by Patrick Diokno.

1. Fresh Air

It's a well-known fact that plants love what humans don't, carbon dioxide. Their ability to turn this everyday nasty into our life source, oxygen, is incredible. But what's more, they remove other pollutants from the air at the same time. In 1989 NASA released a study that showed plants removed benzene and formaldehyde from spaces, minimising SBS, Sick Build Syndrome.

Moreover, as they emit most of the water they absorb into the air, they make the atmosphere humid, which is amplifies the air quality, no more dry mouth or tickling coughs. Patch, the London based plant experts, explain just 5 medium-sized plants in a 20m² can soak up to 75% of airborne pollutants. An essential consideration for city-based projects where polluted air gets in but struggles to get out again. Also significant for hotels, restaurants and offices, where lots of people dwell at once, and the doors are ever revolving.

The Y Restaurant by Asthetíque, in Moscow, Russia.
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The Y Restaurant by Asthetíque, in Moscow, Russia.

2. Easy living

Just 20 minutes of exposure, three times a week to a space that makes you feel closer with nature will lower your cortisol levels within six weeks, and why is that important? Because cortisol is your stress hormone, so it really is true that plants are exceptional for your physiological and mental wellbeing. What's more, because we're more relaxed we are more productive, 15% more productive in fact when greenery plays a prevalent role in your space.

Kitchen in Hawthorn House by Edition Office.
Kitchen in Hawthorn House by Edition Office.

3. Stimulating creativity

The vibrant pops of colour that plants provide in a space, are more than just mere decoration. Sure they offer an effortless and beautiful way to inject colour into a scheme, particularly in office spaces however their vibrancy themselves is good for us. Allowing moments to pause and observe the distraction of a plant, is like energising the batteries, allowing people to refocus and consider things more creatively, we'd say that's good for business.

Kaikaya Restaurant Valencia, Spain by Masquespacio.
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Kaikaya Restaurant Valencia, Spain by Masquespacio.

4. Natural sound barriers

In the same way that motorways around the world are neatly framed by hedgerows and planters, this is partly to soften the grey upon grey of tarmac, but mainly because they act as a sound barrier to traffic noise. The same quality applies to internal plants too. Naturally great at absorbing, deflecting and refracting sound, plants are a great way of diminishing loud noises in restaurants, offices, hotel lobbies or schools.

From the stems to the leaves plants can absorb noise, especially plants with large surface areas, hello palms. As a soft and flexible form, unlike a wall, sound-waves hit the leaves and make them vibrate, meaning the sound doesn't reflect back and creating an echo. And as for refraction, well plant walls are a perfect example, covering sizeable flat surface areas with plants has the same effect as adding carpet to a room shell, the sound hits the surface and bends meaning the sound wave is slower and less powerful.

Nest Co-Working Space, Warsaw, Poland by Beza Projekt. Photography by Jacek Kołodziejski and Beza Projekt.
Nest Co-Working Space, Warsaw, Poland by Beza Projekt. Photography by Jacek Kołodziejski and Beza Projekt.

5. Green zone

We often talk about flexible design and providing multiple spaces within one overarching floorplan, so that various behaviours can happen simultaneously. Commonly partition walls are used to divide the area, but plant walls offer a more aesthetically pleasing alternative with all of the above as added benefits. Think of an ivy wall that allows dappled light to pass through into a room full of fresh air and colourful stimuli, sparking creative conversations or a quiet escape. Plants really can be the hero of any design.

Torel 1884- Designed by Nano Design. Photography of by Luís Ferraz.
Torel 1884- Designed by Nano Design. Photography of by Luís Ferraz.
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