World trends in artificial flower design. The one of our most interesting topic on the Floresy blog.

Japanese Forest Bathing is a thing

It isn’t surprising that forest bathing – spending time in a forest or other green space – is good for you.

Forest bathing or Shinrin yoku is becoming very popular in some countries. Countries such as Japan, in particular, take this practice very seriously.

But more than just hokem or new-age hippy-ness, there is growing scientific evidence to back up why spending time in green spaces is good for our health.

A recent analysis in the scientific journal, Environmental Research, drew on data from multiple previous studies. The combined studies tracked a total of 290 million participants from 20 different countries. The study suggested a correlation between spending time in green spaces and several health benefits:

  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Reduces risk of Type II diabetes

Above all, the participants were also more likely to describe their own health as “good”.

Why is forest bathing is good for our health?

There are many contributing factors to why spending time in green spaces is good for us. They include:

  • Promotes physical activity
  • Social interaction
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Improved air quality

Other theories include an increased exposure to the microorganisms can strengthen the immune system. But also that particular chemicals emitted by trees may actually affect our health in different ways. Some compounds have anti-bacterial properties whilst others may actually increase the activity of our immune system.

Forest bathing as a therapy

“Green prescriptions” have been given to people with various ailments since the Victorian age. And the connection between greenery and health contributed to town planning and the addition of so many parks during the 19th century.

The NHS provides advice to their GPs on the physical and mental benefits of visiting green places. The NHS states that 6-8 months after receiving a green prescription, 63% of patients are more active and 46% have lost weight. Encouraging physical activity outside in good quality green spaces is, therefore, a valuable tool in disease prevention.

Forest Bathing and Biophilic Design

Of course, the principles behind forest bathing and biophilic design are the same. We are innately connected to nature and benefit from being close to natural things such as water and plants. Biophilic design takes these principles and incorporates them into our urban and interior spaces.

How can I incorporate forest bathing into my lifestyle?

You may already be subconsciously seeking out nature for relaxation. Going for a walk is an obvious idea but for many people living urban lives, access to good quality green spaces may be difficult. So if you’re in a pinch what can you do? Here are some ideas:

  • Listen to nature’s sounds, such as birdsong and running water, to help de-stress and relax.
  • Make sure you have greenery in the form of indoor plants or even artwork depicting natural scenes.
  • Make time at the weekend to visit a green space such as a local park or a garden that’s open to the public.

At Floresy, we understand the importance of greenery in our home and work environments. If you want to increase the greenery in your space, without increasing your water consumption or the time it takes to maintain your plants, our artificial products are here to support your needs. Give us a call today to find out how we can help.

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Can resimmercial design help businesses recruit staff?

A survey of 2000 UK workers by Mindspace (a co-working and collaborative workspace provider), uncovered some disconcerting opinions among employees. A surprising 16% of 18 to 24-year-olds said that they had left a job because of its poor workplace design. A further 31% of workers felt their current work environment was uninspiring, while 28% stated that their workplace is simply outdated and dull.

Another study by Office Genie in 2017, a whacking 45% of employees were frustrated at the lack of collaborative spaces in their place of work. And 20% actually stated that their work environment hindered their ability to do their job.

So how does a modern business attract, and retain, the more discerning generation of employees a.k.a. the millennials? What can office design do to improve worker happiness? Would adopting resimmercial design help with your businesses recruitment challenges?

What is resimmercial design?

The word ‘resimmercial’ is a blend of two words: residential and commercial. And this is exactly what resimmercial design is all about – blending home and work life. By creating spaces that are more home-like and less like a place of work, designers are hoping to make the office a more comfortable place to be.

Resimmercial design follows on from commercial spaces that have introduced more creativity to their premises. Sometimes, that may have been through necessity such as the “hot-desking” concept. Other reasons include wanting to change the atmosphere to make it more productive or relaxed.

Resimmercial design

Workplaces that feel more like home. Resimmercial design.

The main principles are creating spaces that feel warm, welcoming and homely plus flexibility for employees with different working preferences. This is predominantly achieved by opting for non-traditional office furniture, moving away from neutral tones and adding more natural textures into the work environment.

What are the features of resimmercial design?

Communal and casual areas

Think less “open-plan office” and more hotel lobby. These areas are lounge spaces with casual seating arrangements that are conducive to conversation. But likewise, a good resimmercial space also more secluded spots for those times when someone needs a quiet place to work.

Multi-functional spaces

By assigning less purpose to a space you allow it to adapt to the needs of the people working there. A room isn’t a meeting room because it’s just another space that could be used for a meeting. Is that a coffee bar or a standing desk? The user decides.

Soft edges and rich textures

That oh-so-typical modular office furniture is replaced with less ‘officey’ pieces often in vibrant colours or natural materials such as wood, cork or bamboo. There are more fabric coverings in a resimmercial space including tactile velvets, prints and other interesting textures. Just like all the curtains, carpets, cushions and upholstery that you would expect to find in a comfortable home.

Resimmercial design is a relaxing work environment

Resimmercial feels like you could be working whilst sitting on your sofa at home

Closer to nature

Resimmercial design often incorporates biophilic principles too. The use of plants helps to create a healthy and relaxing environment As does other natural materials such as stone and water. There may even be a fish tank (ok, that’s very “dentist’s waiting room” and nothing new but, aw, look at the fishies!).

Why choose resimmercial for your office?

An important factor that influences a millennial’s decision making, whether it is spending money or choosing a company to work for, is the ethics and authenticity of a brand or employer. Creating positive working environments shows a commitment to staff welfare above and beyond what any brochure or HR person can demonstrate. And this will be important for any prospective millennial candidate.

Once you’ve attracted talented people to your business it’s important to retain them. The cost of hiring a new employee can cost as much as what you’re paying them. Offering a flexible work environment will help to keep your employees happy and productive. Of course, flexibility must include options for not working in the office in the first place. Reducing staff turnover helps reduce the overall cost of recruitment.

Stress and the mental health of our colleagues is a serious topic. Ping pong tables and breakout areas aren’t remedies for depression. But sympathetic resimmercial design can, in part, offer a less intense working environment for anyone going through a mental illness.

Get it right and the result is fresh, valued and happy staff. And since happiness is a powerhouse, this can lead to improvements in productivity, better work/life balance and fewer sick days. It’s a win-win.

Happy workers in resimmercial office

Ok, there’s a happy worker and then there’s this guy.

Of course, this flexible, adaptable and spontaneous office design could not exist without the advent of mobile computing. WiFi and other technologies that have freed us from the standard 1.5m power cable “leash” are fueling this office place revolution. But is the idea of a progressive workplace anything new? Read our blog post on the history of office design to find out.

 

A short history of office design: evolution of the workplace

The history of office design reads almost like a history of society.

History of office design: the first office buildings

Administration is probably the second oldest profession in the world. Every ancient civilisation would have needed it and the administrators, no doubt, needed some sort of office (including the obligatory uncomfortable desk chair). The first purpose-built office building in the UK is still in use today. It’s believed to be the iconic Old Admiralty Office that stands on the banks of the River Thames in London. Built in 1726, it’s purpose was to accommodate and process the significant amount of paperwork generated by the Royal Navy. 

East India House, also in London, closely follows The Old Admiralty Office. Embracing the benefits of centralised administration, office buildings began appearing all over the capital and beyond. As you would expect from 18th century Britain, the office class system was immediate. A governmental report on office layout recommended separate rooms for more “intellectual work”. Whilst for the “more mechanical work”, a number of clerks would be housed in the same room (under the proper superintendence, naturally).

Offices of the early twentieth century

Offices were originally part of factory buildings. And they were run like factories too. Many followed the principles created by the mechanical engineer, Frank Taylor. “Taylorism” sort to maximise efficiency by filling vast open-plan offices with rows upon rows of office workers. Needless to say, his methodology lacked the human touch and those offices probably more closely resembled factory-farming than they do a modern day office.

As technology allowed skyscrapers to grow in size in the 1930s, so did the amount of office space. And this allowed for more congenial working conditions. The open plan office began to include private offices for meetings and managers plus communal spaces like kitchens and canteens. Lifts allowed buildings to go higher while electric lighting and air conditioning helped improve the worker’s experience.

Birth of the modern office

Thanks to the Great Depression and a world war, it wasn’t until the 1960s that office design really starts to embrace human interaction, however. Burolandschaft, a concept from Germany, means “office landscape”. It first grew in popularity across northern Europe before spreading to the rest of the world. Layouts were less regimented and the first significant use of office plants was seen. It’s easy to understand how modern office layout design attributes itself to Burolandschaft.

A greater variety of working spaces including communal areas, meeting rooms plus more private individual desks lead the sociable and gregarious Burolandschaft designs to morph into the Action Office(!). Women also began to enter the workforce in greater number during this period. The creation of the desk ‘modesty panel’ quickly followed.

history of office design

So much sexism, so little time

Dark times

However, the addition of autonomous and private working spaces of the Action Office lead the history of office design down a dark alley. As modular office furniture too evolved to meet office trends, the infamous office cubicle was born, nay, spawned. Cubicle farms began to more closely resemble Taylorism than Burolandschaft as the profit-over-people mentality of the 1980s peaked.

Where is office design today?

Despite an uninteresting office design period known as the 1990s, the decade did witness the dawn of the digital revolution. It was this paradigm shift that allowed employees to finally emerge from their cubicle cocoons and see sunlight for the first time in almost two decades. This is perhaps the biggest leap forward in the history of office design.

And technology continues to play the most significant role in office layout evolution. Whilst the concept of a private cubicle desk still exists today, workers are no longer confined to them because of mobile computing. The Cloud, WiFi and decent batteries allow people to work wherever they choose. 

Resimmercial design – when working from home meets open plan office – encourages comfortable and flexible working spaces that feel more like home than the office. Choices of where to work (or where not to work when on a break) can assist a person’s schedule or simply support how they are feeling that day. Collaborate and creative spaces allow teams to work together or hold meetings and presentations. Whilst secluded nooks and pods cater for more quietly productive working.

The future of office design

It’s hard to predict the future but we can learn from the past. Technology has shaped our offices just as much as how an individual’s value within society has. It is likely that a greater respect for people’s health and family life will see a flexible working revolution. In a global society with growing access to virtual and augmented realities and 3D printing, these technologies will no doubt also shape how and when we work. Or the AI overlords will rise up and we’ll back in the cubicle farms where we belong. 

 

What is Interior Landscaping?

Interior landscaping is an expression in use by many interior designers who work exclusively with indoor planting schemes to describe what they do. You’ve probably heard of landscaping – the physical process of reshaping the land. Hard landscaping refers to structures such as walls, pergolas, patios and even follies. Soft landscaping is the term for the planting within the landscaped garden.

So, interior landscaping is a bit of an oxymoron. Afterall, there isn’t any land to be ‘scaped! Instead, it is the process of adding plants and greenery to work with the angles, dimensions and light inside buildings and internal structures. Perhaps ‘plantscaping‘ or ‘interiorscaping‘ are more accurate terms. All three of these expressions are rather interchangeable with businesses and designers using them to describe their own unique services.

Despite sounding trendy, the term has been in popular use within the industry for a considerable amount of time. The terms emerged in the 1970s following the publication of Richard Gain’s book ‘Interior Plantscaping‘. Some people choose to use the term exclusively for interior spaces will others use them to describe gardens within buildings.

Interior landscaping is the design and possible implementation of a planting scheme that compliments an interior space. It isn’t the maintenance of those plants although some companies will offer both these services. It also is less about a potted plant of your desk but more about structural planting that works directly with architectural details of a building. 

Examples of Interior Landscaping

Done properly, you probably won’t notice that an interior has been ‘plantscaped‘. We expect interiors in hotels, shopping centres or business foyers to have a certain look and feel.

A popular interior feature is the Green Wall or Living Walls. Usually imposing and certainly spectacular, green walls are plants grown vertically such as this example from Biotecture for Centrica’s office in Windsor.

Interior landscaping of a green wall

Interior landscaping includes impressive installations like his green wall

For large interior spaces – those with considerable ceiling height – using tall indoor plants, such as trees can be just as spectacular. Trees are ultimately architectural plants due to their size. And trees indoors certainly have the wow-factor.

Interior trees can be difficult to maintain due to how very, very thirsty they can be. Some have extensive roots systems that extend out from the trunk for almost as far as the tree is tall. So the solution is to use certain species that could be grown in containers. Or, the alternative solution to this problem is to use tall artificial plants and artificial trees indoors.

Faux Artificial interior tree

Bespoke artificial trees match your individual requirements

How does Interior Landscaping benefit me?

Interior landscaping offers the same benefits as any interior styling. Without a planting scheme, a room or building may seem off or cold and clinical. But, hey, if cold and clinical is your brand – go with that. Interiorscaping is more obvious when it is missing. Here are some of the benefits of interior landscaping:

Brand

Help define who you are and what you do from the moment someone walks into your shop or lobby. Plants and their containers can add humour, elegance or even a tropical vibe.

Ambience

The atmosphere is important in any setting. A structured, neat and uniform planting scheme will add a professional and serious note to an office or lobby. Softer planting can help people feel more relaxed and less anxious which is a great thing in a dentists waiting room.

Function

Plants can help define a room’s function: Lines of container plants will define doorways or walkways. Add discretion and privacy to areas for seating and talking by using the plants as screens or room dividers.

Wellness

Many studies conclude how important connection to nature is. It has a direct impact on the overall wellness and happiness of people working in any environment. Plants help add the greenery needed for that connection. The wellness experienced by workers leads to increases in productivity and fewer sick days.

Noice reduction

Big open spaces are echoey. You can help improve the acoustics of large spaces by adding a planting to dampen the sounds. This is great for open-plan offices and hotel lobbies. But also for busy restaurants. Less so for libraries.

Interested in learning more? Check out these posts on the benefits of artificial plants in commercial spaces and biophilic design.

Floresy has an interior landscaping offering as part of our bespoke services. By working closely with you, we will use our knowledge and experience to design a scheme that works for and for your space. Contact us today for more information on how we can help.

 

 

Is bamboo fabric really eco-friendly?

The manufacturers and retailers of bamboo clothing and textiles are singing its praises. They say this wonderfully soft fibre is so eco-friendly, you’re saving the planet just by wearing it. Too good to be true? Probably.

Following our recent blog post on the sustainability of bamboo as a wood alternative, we are looking at bamboo fabric with the same objectivity. So what do we already know about bamboo as a fabric?

  • Bamboo fabric is super soft, strong and lightweight.
  • It has good drape characteristics and allows the skin to breath making it ideal for clothing.
  • Bamboo also imparts it’s absorbent and anti-bacterial properties into its fabric form which is great for medical uses.
  • Plus textiles made from bamboo require less energy to wash and dry than other natural fibres.

Doesn’t that all sound fabulous so far? It almost reads like an advert from a retailer of bamboo clothing…

However, as with any resource or product, we need to look at the entire process – from harvesting to retailing – to understand the impact on the environment. It’s worth noting at this point that nothing has zero impact. When you cut down a tree or harvest a cotton crop there is an energy cost and direct effect on the immediate environment (“Hey, where’s my tree gone?” said the squirrel). Among other things, sustainability considers how that cost is balanced against providing income and education for farm workers and how easy it is to replace or regrow a resource.

Eco-recap on growing bamboo

Whilst there are energy costs associated in its transportation, the production of bamboo can be super-sustainable:

  • It grows at a fast rate, absorbing C02 from the atmosphere as it matures.
  • Growing in its natural environment, bamboo does not require irrigation or pesticides.
  • Bamboo production supports small-scale farming in areas that are too inaccessible for large machinery.
  • It has a larger utilised biomass than cotton i.e. more product per plant per acre.
  • Once harvested, bamboo continues to grow so there is less destruction that leads to soil erosion.

Well, this sounds even better! Bamboo is great to grow and its great to wear. Sign me up!

But between plant and product, there is a significant area that needs exploring before bamboo can claim it’s eco-credentials.

Turning bamboo into fabric

Bamboo is not naturally soft. It’s a hard, woody plant that requires significant processing to turn into a textile. There are two methods for this: chemical and mechanical.

Chemical production of bamboo fabric

Those of you currently wearing any bamboo clothing may wish to slip into something with a higher cotton content whilst reading this.

The leaves and stalks of bamboo are effectively cooked-up in a vat of toxic chemicals including carbon disulfide, chlorine and sulfuric acid. Because it isn’t a closed loop system, the resulting cocktail, that is a risk to the environment, gets into waterways and landfills. Plus, these chemicals pose serious health hazards, including neural disorders, for the workers employed in the manufacture of bamboo fabric using this method.

Great.

This manufacturing process is neither eco-friendly nor sustainable. And it’s this method that produces the silky soft, wearable fabric that gets bamboo all that positive attention.

Mechanical production of bamboo fabric

Good news is that the mechanical method is more eco-friendly than the chemical method (but it would be difficult not to be). The bad news is that it is more expensive. The woody bamboo is crushed and left to ferment in a mushy mess using natural enzymes that break down the fibrous structures. The natural fibres are then mechanically drawn out and spun into yarn. This process is basically the same for making textiles from flax or hemp and the result is a linen-like fabric. It’s labour intensive and produces a low yield of fabric.

The reality is the vast majority of bamboo textile is not organic. Or at least any claim it has in being a truly organic fibre has limitations. Bamboo fibre can be organic – but it’s rare, expensive and unlikely to be fully traceable.

Bamboo and China

Any commodity, where it’s production is overwhelmingly dependant on China is not sustainable. China has one of the most unregulated markets in the world and hardly the best track record on workers rights. Plus a significant pollution problem. So even if bamboo is a better crop for the environment that does not automatically make it sustainable. At least not yet. China is stepping up with new environmental policies, mostly in response to the smog issues across its cities. So perhaps there is hope yet for Chinese bamboo to save us all. If only if wasn’t on the other side of the planet…

Here’s a handy infographic on bamboo

bamboo sustainable infographic

Bamboo infographic

It’s easy to be defeatist. Trying to make good, sustainable choices for our businesses and personal selves sometimes feels impossible. We, as consumers, often only have access to the information that retailers want us to know about their products. The result is we are sometimes left feeling naive, conned or like a failure when we’ve tried so hard to make the right choice.

But the positive in all this is just that – choice. Is bamboo fabric a better choice for the environment than organic cotton from a fair trade source? Maybe, maybe not. Is it better than polyester? Yes. Can bamboo production help protect deforestation in South America? Yes. Is the farming of bamboo across China likely (if not already) to be exploited if the west continues to view bamboo as a magic bullet? Probably. Is it a competition of bamboo vs cotton? No. Is it about making informed decisions? Yes.

The use of bamboo is a step in the right direction. It shows we are looking for alternatives. But bamboo, certainly for European consumers, shouldn’t be considered the final destination of that search. It’s a stepping stone in our journey towards sustainability.

 

Is bamboo sustainable for use in interior design?

The driving force behind any construction material is how cost-effective it is. Sadly this often results in practices that exploit the environment including the people used in the production process. With growing concerns over the impact of humans on our environment, bamboo is potentially one of the success stories. But is bamboo sustainable enough?

Why is bamboo sustainable?

Bamboo is a fast-growing plant. Incredibly, some species grow up to 1.2m per day! The plants can reach a harvestable height within 3-5 years. So whilst wood is still a renewable resource, trees used in the timber industry will take between 20 and 60 years to reach suitable felling heights. Bamboo has a higher yield because it “outgrows” trees.

When you cut down a tree for its wood, you kill the tree. When you cut down bamboo, it continues to grow as the base and roots remain intact. This helps prevent soil erosion often associated with deforestation. The continual growth of bamboo also means it is continually taking carbon from the atmosphere. Plus bamboo forests spew out more oxygen than hardwood forests by 30%.

Bamboo happily grows in inaccessible areas where it wouldn’t be possible to farm timber such as slopes and smaller plots of land. It grows in abundance across Asia and is sometimes seen as a problem plant because of its fast-growing and prolific nature. Furthermore, growing bamboo in its natural habitat means its production also has a much smaller impact on the local ecosystem including no requirement for irrigation or fertiliser.

Because of its suitability for small-scale farming, bamboo also supports local economies and their small, independent farmers. Communities are safe from deforestation or exploitation by logging corporations as well. Bamboo can be cut by hand eliminating the need for energy-consuming machinery.

Bamboo also has potential as a biofuel. It is a high-carbon material and so is an obvious choice for converting into a biofuel. India is leading the way by using bamboo as a biofuel due to the plant’s abundance in its northern region. Whilst its use as a fuel is still in an experimental stage, it has the potential to contribute to greener fuels industries.

How does bamboo compare to hardwood as a material?

Bamboo is waterproof meaning it is easier to clean and has better stain-resistance than hardwood. This is a great plus when using bamboo as wooden flooring. Whilst all wood has antibacterial properties, bamboo is particularly so making it “cleaner” overall when compared to normal wood.

Hardness is an important factor when considering a construction material. For wooden flooring, the hardness of the wood effects how durable the flooring is. The hardness of wood comes from its fibre density. Hardness is measured using the Janka Hardness Test. This equates to the force required to embed a steel ball half its diameter into the wood.

Natural bamboo has a hardness of 1300-1400 which is comparable to birch (1260), beech (1300) and oak (1360). Carbonised bamboo (heat treated to darken its natural colour) has a hardness of 1000-1100 which is still hard than pine (870).

Bamboo scaffolding is the norm across China but bamboo can even be an alternative to steel for reinforcing concrete. So regardless of the question is bamboo sustainable, it’s certainly extremely versatile.

Bamboo sustainable alternative wood

Is bamboo a real alternative to wood?

What are the environmental impacts of bamboo?

Bamboo cannot be grown on a significant, sustainable scale outside of Asia so all of the bamboo products in use in the West are imported. Around 80% of bamboo is grown in China, so there is the emission cost in transporting it around the globe to Europe and the USA. However, the environmental impact of shipping bamboo across the Pacific may not appear all that bad. It is comparable with logging transportation across the Americas, including within the USA itself.

Asia has less regulation than western nations regarding the use of pesticides and other chemicals used in the farming process.

With the demand for bamboo increasing so too is the financial temptation. Local farmers may choose to destroy local habitats in order to increase bamboo growth opportunities.

When asking is bamboo sustainable, it isn’t just the growing and harvesting that requires consideration. The ease with which the material can be transformed into a usable product is important too. As bamboo is a slender plant it requires additional processing to create planks. Timber can quickly be cut into ready-to-use planks. Bamboo needs to be glued together and that requires an adhesive – which is an additional chemical. There is also an additional energy cost to consider especially if the bamboo is carbonised to create a darker shade. However, there is less wastage unlike when turning timber into planks.

Bamboo as a textile is a bad idea due to the significant chemical use in its production.

There is no official grading system for the quality of bamboo used in flooring or furniture so quality-control of a final product may also be an issue. You can look for the FSC logo on a bamboo product which will mean that it has come from a more sustainable source.

Conclusion

Whilst there will always be an impact with using natural resources, it’s important to understand the relative impact each material has so we can limit or even mitigate the environmental costs. So, is bamboo sustainable? Well, it can be and where you are on the planet is a big factor. The use of bamboo in western countries may ease the rate of destruction of the rainforest in South America. But if all it does is shift the deforestation to other places on the planet, then there is no real benefit. As with any natural resource, it needs proper management otherwise it will become no different to the hardwood forests.

Discover ideas for using bamboo plants in your interiors from our blog post artificial bamboo tree inspiration.

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Benefits of Artificial plants in commercial spaces

Benefits of Artificial Plants in commercial interiors

For some, the concept of artificial or faux plants in their interiors seems counter-intuitive. Others may think of them as cheap or obviously fake. Apart from the high-quality and near-identical appearance of modern artificial plants to real plants, there are many benefits of artificial plants as well.

In addition to these benefits, plant maintenance can be a significant overhead for many hospitality businesses – especially those who opt for botanically themed interiors. Water accounts for 10% of utility bills for most hotels and that’s without the labour costs associated with plant maintenance.

Low Maintenance

Artificial plants are very nearly zero-maintenance. They do not require pruning, watering, feeding or pesticides. In fact, all you need to do is occasionally dust you artificial plants. But you need to dust natural plants too, especially big-leaved varieties.

There are no dead flowers or leaves to remove or sweep up and neither is there any soil to be spilt. Plus there is no risk of any water accidentally causing a slip hazard.

  • Low maintenance means you can reduce your overheads.

Suitable for any location

Artificial plants will tolerate any condition. Low light levels that would otherwise see off natural plants like fig trees and palms pose no issue to an artificial or faux plant.

ficus liana exotica tree

Artificial Ficus liana exotica tree from Floresy will not droop or lose its leaves.

Indoors real plants also need to be able to tolerate central heating and air conditioning which can quickly dry them out. You can place an artificial plant next to a radiator and be reassured that it will not wilt.

The benefits of artificial plants also include being able to place them in relatively inaccessible places. Such as suspending them from a ceiling or even just on a particularly high shelf. Because you do not need to water them, you can place an artificial plant where they are out of reach without making maintaining them problematic.

  • Suitability means you do not have to compromise on achieving the desired ambience for your customers.

Storable

Don’t need that artificial plant at the moment? Pop it in the cupboard until you do. Unlike their natural counterparts, you can put an artificial plant into storage until when it is needed next. Just like a Christmas tree.

This is a great benefit for venues who host events or weddings and need to be able to conveniently change layout and decor of a room for each booking.

  • Storable means the artificial plant is an asset that can be reused again and again.

Condition

Artifical plants will not shed their leaves. Their flowers will not fade. When you purchase an artificial plant from Floresy it will stay looking exactly the same all year round. It will not outgrow it’s pot not need pruning to maintain its shape.

  • Condition means that you will not have to reinvest in your plant solutions.

Flexibility

It’s much easier to move artificial plants than real ones. Artificial plants are more robust than real plants. They are also generally lighter in weight due to the planter or pot not containing soil. This portability is another one of the benefits of artificial plants.

  • Flexibility means you can more readily adapt your interiors to suit your needs.

Non-Allergenic

Whilst there are many benefits from having real plants in your spaces, it’s important to remember real plant negatives too. Some plants are triggers for allergy sufferers. Sometimes the plants themselves or the pollen their produce is the irritant. But for some people, it is the use of chemicals in the maintenance of real plants that cause the reaction.

Artificial plants are hypoallergenic. You can also sanitise them using cleanings products that you could do use on an organic plant. Because they do not require maintenance, there is no need for pesticides or insecticides either.

  • Non-allergenic means happier customers and happier employees.
artificial flower arrangements work

One of the benefits of artificial plants means no allergic reactions to flowers or pollen.

Artificial plants offer real solutions for businesses. This is either in the form of lowering their overheads or in the flexibility of using faux plants. You use them on their own to create permanent displays. Or combine them with real plants to achieve the right balance between cost, benefits and style. For more information on how artificial plants can help with your business’s interiors, please give Floresy a call on 0208 0770891

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Houseplant trend continues with IKEA display at Chelsea

The houseplant trend continues as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show hosted IKEA’s home office display at this year’s show. The stand in the Discovery area of the Pavillion was a collaboration between IKEA and Indoor Garden Design.

Chelsea flower show houseplants ikea display

Houseplants galore at IKEA’s home office display at this year Chelsea flower show. Photograph: IKEA

The display is entitled “Plant Works” is set in an open-plan home office that includes a desk and meeting area. The objective is to show how we can create healthier and greener environments for our workspaces and not just our homes.

Naturally, the design is scandi-fantastic with clean lines, crisp whites and cool greys all allowing ‘green’ to dominate. The room is open and informal that creates a relaxed and creative atmosphere. Every conceivable space is used for planting: the desktops and surfaces display a collection of small potted ficus and Sansevieria. There are floor-standing plants of differing sizes including palms, ferns and cacti. The wall-mounted floating shelves house variegated-leaved alocasia and neat rows of phalaenopsis orchids and Bromeliaceae. One of IKEA’s peg-board style storage solutions has miniature plants stuffed into little pockets and pots. Plants are hanging from the ceiling and they are even under the wire-framed side tables.

Houseplant trend continues with orchids

Houseplant trend continues with this orchid arrangement in moss. Photograph: IKEA

Small succulent houseplant in white ceramic pot

No space is too small, no plant is too small. Photograph: IKEA

This is the second collaboration at Chelsea for IKEA and Indoor Garden Design. In 2017, their display was called ‘At home with plants’ and showcased how to use plants in bedrooms, living rooms and in bathrooms. The display featured many houseplants still riding high on this ‘outdoors indoors’ trend such as the monstera deliciosa and beautiful peace lily or Spathiphyllum.  This year’s ‘Plant Works’ continues what IKEA and Indoor Garden Design started in 2017.

Plants for living not just living rooms

Plant Works isn’t only about plants. It also contained information on the science behind how plants help boost our productivity and well-being. The scheme is really a champion of biophilic design and how it’s application creates a healthy and happy space for humans to exist in.

As the millennial generation becomes the dominant demographic in the workforce, so too do we see an increase in their work-environment preferences. Open, collaborative spaces, communal areas and desks and workstations that baulk tradition. But we are also seeing an increase in freelancers and the self-employed who’s homes are also their workplaces. 

So the lines between work and living are blurred – or should that read ‘softened’ by some well-placed foliage?

Get the look

As the houseplant trend continues so does Floresy’s offerings of high-quality artificial house plants. Faux plants are a great option for office areas as their greenery adds productivity and creativity whilst their super-low-maintenance keeps your overheads down too. So consider choosing artificial office plants for your workstation as well.

artificial plant bonsai ficus

Miniature high-quality ficus bonsai by Floresy

artificial plant floor-standing cycas palm

Artificial Cycas Palm Plant 100 cm by Floresy

sansevieria green small zoom

Bespoke green sansevieria in a grey planter by Floresy

 

artificial death valley cactus

Artificial death valley cactus succulent by Floresy

 

 

white orchid arrangement

Artificial orchids by Floresy

The above modern orchid arrangement will add peace and class to your setting. Perfect for a reception desk or other client-facing areas.

These succulents arranged in moss in white pots are perfect for a desktop, restaurant table or even the corporate bathrooms.

Mixed artificial succulents in moss by Floresy

Mixed artificial succulents in moss by Floresy

For more information on our extensive range of products for both indoors and outdoors, please visit our shop.

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4 (and a half) Plants with Big Leaves

As we increasingly bring nature into our interiors, foliage is set to be an ongoing trend. So plants with big leaves are popular as they add a big dollop of green in one dose. Plants with big leaves can be clustered with other plants for a tropical or sumptuous feel. However, they can also stand alone and still have an impact. Big leaves are often unfussy and simple therefore give the plant a clean and uncluttered look. This means they suit many modern interiors especially those tending towards minimalism.

There are many choices of indoor plants with big leaves, ranging from trees to the humble houseplant. Here is our guide to some popular options for your interiors.

1. Plants with Big Leaves – Ficus

Fig trees or Ficus come in a wide variety of leaf and trunk variations. They are relatively easy to care for which makes them a popular indoor tree (although they are also known for losing their leaves). The beauty of using a tree over a bushier plant is the floor space remains more open and keeps the room feeling less cluttered.

Big Leaf Ficus in hallway

A pair of big-leaved Ficus in the hallway. Design by Sarah Baynes.

A popular choice from Floresy is this big-leaved ficus with green/white variegated leaves.

Premium Big White-Green Leaves Ficus

Premium Big White-Green Leaves Ficus

2. Anthurium

At first glance, the wet-looking, flesh-red of the anthurium flower suggests this plant could be a carnivore. It isn’t. It’s just a very distinctive houseplant with super-shiny leaves and a long-lasting ‘flowers’. The red part is actually a modified leaf or ‘bract’. It’s the yellow/white spike that contains spirals of tiny, densely-packed flowers.

Anthuriums are native to the Americas and so they have a vibrant, tropical feel. They are a great choice if you want plants with big leaves on a smaller surface such as desk or shelf. They come in a variety of colours ranging from white through a variety of pinks. But the most common is the blood red.

Anthurium with it's distinctive red flowers.

Anthurium with it’s distinctive red flowers.

Whilst the natural form of Anthuriums have fantastic air-purifying abilities, they are also poisonous. To avoid this toxic issue, you could consider an artificial anthurium such as this one from Floresy.

Red Anthurium in Pot

Anthurium by Floresy has large, tactile waxy leaves.

3. Alocasia Calidora

Nothing says “Hello, I’m a plant with big leaves” like an Alocasia. One of the bigger-leafed varieties is nickname ‘elephant ears’ for obvious reasons. These impressive plants need a bright position to thrive indoors so are best suited to sunny rooms and conservatories. Rooms with skylights are also suitable due to the increased light available.

Alocasia plants with big leaves interiors

Something witty or observational about Alocasia Calidora

Alocasia varieties include those with variegated leaves such as this artificial option from Floresy: 

alocasia plants with big leaves foliage display

Big, but not that big…

Alocasias are a fantastic choice for any interior. Available in a range of sizes, they are effectively design-neutral and so will fit into any decor. This classic, mid-green, wide-leafed artificial Alocasia by Floresy will bring fresh foliage to any room.

alocasia calidora plants with big leaves indoor foliage artificial plants

Artificial Alocasia Calidora in various sizes

4. Peace lily

The peace lily or spathiphyllum is an elegant and attractive plant that is a perfect choice for a desk or sunny windowsill. Being a smaller plant than some of the others on this list, it’s leaves aren’t as big. But their shape and texture are certainly evocative of the Alocasia. Like the Anthurium, they have a modified leaf that enhances the size of the delicate white flowers.

Peace Lily Indoor Plants with big leaves

Sergeant Angel’s favourite plant

artificial Spathiphyllum peace lily for interiors

Artificial peace lily by Floresy. Small, but with leaves that punch above their weight.

4.5. Rubber Tree Plant

Here’s the half:

The rubber tree is a really only a variety of the Ficus that features above. The clue is in its Latin name: Ficus Elastica. It is known for it’s large, dark green leaves and is a design icon of 1970’s interiors. Despite its groovy heritage, it has actually featured in our interiors since the Victorian era.

Rubber Tree Plants with big leaves

The rubber tree is at home in 1970’s interiors as it is any contemporary setting.

The rubber tree plant looks great in the sunny rooms with rattan furniture, as shown above in this image from Guiade Jardineria. Equally, this big-leaf plant will suit a dark and moody Victorian gentleman’s study (so great if you’re into Steampunk). If your setting does suffer from low natural light-levels, however, an artificial rubber tree from Floresy is a good solution.

Artificial rubber tree plant with big leaves by Floresy.

Artificial rubber tree plant with big leaves by Floresy.

Floresy stock a wide range of plants with big leaves plus some plants with more delicate leaves too. Visit our shop to view our extensive range.

Biophilic Design – what is it?

Biophilic design is a concept that strives to incorporate nature into our homes, workplaces and community spaces. It embraces the connection between humans and nature by creating a harmonious space that is fulfilling yet still functional and efficient.

The awareness of biophilic design in the workplace is increasing. It comes as we acknowledge how prevalent mental health disorders and cardiovascular disease are in our western societies. The World Health Organisation predicts that these stress-related conditions will be the two biggest health problems by 2020.

The traditional designs of offices and other workplaces focus more on how cost-effective the floor space can be instead of how well people can exist in the space. Furthermore, the increase in technology-dependence and ‘screen-time’ and we lose our connection with nature for significant proportions of our lives.

Biophilic design puts the human experience and well-being at the centre of any design. It is based on the observed concept of biophilia.

What is biophilia?

Biophilia was first noted by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in his 1973 book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. He described it as “the passionate love of life and of all that is alive”. The term was then popularised in the 1980s by the psychologist, Edward O Wilson, in his book, Biophilia (1984). Wilson proposed that humans innate desire to connect with nature is, in part, genetic. He observed how we were becoming disconnected from the natural world because of increases in urbanisation.

Examples of Biophilic Design

Perhaps the most famous examples of biophilic design are the creative playgrounds that global corporations like Google call ‘offices’. However, biophilic design is not limited to billion-dollar industries. Proponents of biophilic design include designers such as Oliver Heath who’s projects have included a garden school in Hackney, London.

biophilic design in an office

Google’s office in Dublin shows examples of biophilic design in the workplace.

biophilc design healthcare hospital

Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne has a large-scale aquarium in its atrium. Photograph: John Gollings

What is the WELL Building Standard?

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is a leader in the global wellness movement that focuses on the ‘design, operations and behaviours’ of buildings. The standard is a holistic approach to well-being and is based on seven core concepts:

  • Air – promote clean air and reduce in sources of indoor air pollution
  • Water – provide safe and clean water for various uses
  • Nourishment – encourage better eating habits and food culture
  • Light – protect the body’s circadian system and support good sleep quality
  • Fitness – integrate physical activity into everyday life and reduce sedentary behaviours
  • Comfort – distraction-free, productive and comfortable indoor environments
  • Mind – optimise cognitive and emotional health through design and technology

Any building can apply for the WELL certification. It is a fantastic tool, especially when used to improve the well-being of the building’s occupants.

What is Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)?

Sick building syndrome is a recognised medical condition relating to poor air quality in workplaces such as offices. The symptoms include headaches, dizziness and nausea as well as irration to the eyes, nose and throat. The majority of cases are considered to be linked to flaws in a building’s air conditioning, heating and ventilation. Contamination including microbial and chemical are also factors.

Because of these factors, addressing the main causes of SBS is likely to involve a serious overall of a building’s infrastructure. However, opening windows and giving the building a good clean are the first steps in addressing problems. The introduction of plants into the building will also help with poor air quality.

What can biophilic design do for you?

There are many studies that show that biophilic design can have a positive impact. Commercial, civic and residential buildings in addition to public spaces can benefit:

  • Biophilic workplaces show increases in worker well-being of up to 13% and in productivity of up to 8%.
  • Healthcare spaces see post-operative recovery rates reduce by 8.5% and a 22% reduction in the need for pain medication.
  • Customers are willing to pay up to 12% more for goods or services when a retail unit is situated in an area with vegetation and landscaping.
  • Urban spaces with greater access to nature have less crime by around 8%.
  • Guests staying in hotel rooms with views of nature including greenery or water are willing to pay 23% more than for rooms that don’t.
  • Concentration levels, rates of attendance and test results all increase in educational spaces with biophilic elements. The negative impacts of ADHD decrease.

In a 100% organic nutshell, biophilic design can have a positive impact in so many areas of our lives. Studies have shown that the simple act of adding plants to an office can have a positive measurable effect. The mental well-being of workers improves through reductions in stress, depression and anxiety.

Floresy design services are here to help you provide the right biophilic solution for your building. The addition of the colour green will create more relaxing and calm spaces for your workers.  Plants and greenery will help improve the customer experience for your guests and clients. Contact us here so we can get started today.