DAY’s Christos Efthymoudis about Plants and Architecture
My name is Christos Efthymoudis and I’m working as an interior designer at DAY. I have a special interest in the relationship between plants and architecture but this has not always been the case. During my studies, I was taught architecture in a rather strict, Mies van der Rohe kind-of-way: architecture was not so much about feelings or experience, it was more about ‘skin and bones’. After my studies I developed a much more experiential approach towards architecture and I discovered how plants can enrich the experience of architecture.
When I was asked to compose a top five of the things that inspire me, I decided that it would be a great opportunity to share some of my favourite applications of plants in an architectural context. So here we go 😉
– Oasis of Aboukir, Paris
Some would say that it’s just a ‘green wall’ But I believe this project is about so much more than just that. With over 237 different plant varieties, this project could very well be described as a vertical garden. The mastermind behind the project is the French botanist and garden pioneer Patrick Blanc. For each new project, Blanc examines the botanical context of the area, making sure that his intervention is not just pleasing for the eyes but also contributing to sustain the local biodiversity.
– The Spheres, Seattle, USA
A very interesting project by e-commerce giant Amazon, taking the idea of a biophilic office design to a new level. Three glass domes envelop a horticultural eco-system that can be used as a lounge and co-working space by Amazon’s employees. The complex features more than 25.000 plants, about 50 trees and a coffee bar. Vistors can get an impression of what it would be like to work here by joining the weekly guided tours.
– Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Laverstoke, UK
Bombay Sapphire built this mind-blowing distillery and visitor centre in a former banknote factory with over thousand years of history. The different types of plants used during the production of Bombay Sapphire gin became the hero of the visitor experience. Two glasshouses with a truly spectacular design use excess heat from the distillation proces to create both a tropical and a Mediterranean climate.
– Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore
Changi Airport has the reputation of being the best airport the world for many years. Providing an excellent customer experience is at the centre of their strategy, transforming the airport from a ‘place to leave’ into a very pleasant ‘place to stay’. With the opening of ‘Jewel’ building earlier this year, Changi took this strategy one step further. The centre of the airport has been transformed into an enormous indoor garden that can be enjoyed by travellers as well as local families. A 40-metres high waterfall is the superhero of the project.
– Gardens by the bay, Singapore
I’m finishing my top five with another great initiative from Singapore. ‘Gardens by the Bay’ is a very ambitious project, transforming the Marina Bay area into an enormous urban tropical garden. The most striking elements of the design are the 50-metres high ‘supertree’ structures which are built to harvest rainwater, cool down the surroundings and improve the biodiversity of the area. The trees are connected by a 20-metres high footbridge and the biggest supertree features a rooftop bar.