Living walls and other green accoutrements have come to the forefront of office and retail design for a number of reasons. Firstly, plants and greenery of all types are beautiful and make every environment more welcoming and attractive. Secondly, we all remember elementary school biology that taught us that plants eat CO2 and provide O2. However, not all businesses have the staff, the time, or the budget to take care of them. We had already worked to be as sustainable and low-maintenance as possible with our handmade succulent planters that seldom need watering but plants, at times, do need to be replaced and while that is not a financial burden for us since we propagate many of our own succulents, it is a problem for business owners and retailers for whom staff are already plenty busy with other tasks.
The Fat Plant Society business model is heavily focused on sustainability. We had already worked to be as sustainable and low-maintenance as possible with our handmade succulent planters that seldom need watering but plants, at times, do need to be replaced and while that is not a financial burden for us since we propagate many of our own succulents, it is a problem for business owners and retailers for whom staff are already plenty busy with other tasks.
To figure out how to "green-up" office and retail spaces in a more cost-effective manner, we took our cue from a trip to the Valley of the Sun last fall. We stopped into Plant Solutions in Scottdale, Arizona owned by Joe Zazeera and Pat Mahan who had already struggled with the problem and developed the Moss Wall Art solution. “It was 2009, the height of the Great Recession.” says Joe, “Our clients loved the living walls we designed, but a lot of them were reluctant to take on the watering and maintenance costs because their business was uncertain.” Using sustainably harvested and naturally preserved moss, lichens, ferns, and downed wood, they developed a set of proprietary artisanal techniques that bring the sensation of nature into a wide range of interiors — at four-fifths the cost of a living wall.
Our pal Joe Zazeera of Plant Solutions puts it so well; “We think of these as biomimicry art pieces, mimicking the outdoors we would rather be playing in, and connecting us to our human nature and innate love of living things,” says Joe. “Each one is a like a little miniature shrine at the edge of the wilderness between our offices and our primeval nature.”
Companies that add natural features to their workplace save more than $3,000 per employee per year thanks to the air-cleaning quality of zero maintenance, real moss. The plants use CO2 and circulate the air in the room, removing VOCs from the ambient air. This reduces the negative health effects associated with VOCs and poor indoor air. Moss walls, therefore, improve air quality through photosynthesizing; absorbing CO2.
On a psychological level, plants can provide a calming effect as well as increase worker efficiency. Quantifying a psychological benefit from plants in a person’s space is somewhat difficult. However, qualitative reports of a general improvement in mood and calmness are common in measuring effects of plants on human psychology.
At The Fat Plant Society, we design each wall and frame to spec so each creation is true, one-of-a-kind, plant art. Plus, they are an affordable, maintenance-free way to bring outdoor beauty and calm into our indoor spaces, creating an atmosphere that connects us to nature—and helps us thrive, collaborate, and be more creative along the way.
Sustainable. Simple Beauty.