Living Wall Turns Heads

May 6, 2013 -  By

The Mission: Create a “living room of intimate space.”

The Winter Garden is a 22,000-sq.-ft. contemplative and restful gallery-type space in a modern and minimalist style combining art, sculpture, water and lots of plants—including a 1,950-sq.-ft. living wall. Rennie Gotell, general manager of Greenery Office Interiors, characterizes the Winter Garden, located in a commercial office building in Calgary, as a “relationship project.”

“We got the job because we knew the right person to help us,” he says. Additionally, the company survived the project’s many delays and difficult installation because of good vendor and contractor relationships.

The project, which took about two years to complete, did not get off to a promising start: “The day 20,000 plants left Florida, we received a call delaying the project for three months,” Gotell recalls. Because the building itself was under construction during the project, three months slid into five months.

Once the company got the green light to bring in the plants, a new problem arose: “It was a logistical nightmare transporting all of this material to the second floor of this brand-new building under construction, with tenants moving in and every trade under the sun present,” Gotell says. There was the added challenge of keeping the contractor, architect and building owner on the same page throughout the project.

Gotell confirms that all the obstacles were definitely worth the result. He notes that it’s a popular place for people to get together to eat lunch, hold an informal meeting or just relax next to the “Zen-like” green wall.

“It makes an incredible statement,” he concludes. “The design of the wall was inspired by an aerial photograph of local agricultural land. The stainless sculptures were designed to look like sheaves of wheat, and they honor historical city leaders. In fact, the Winter Garden was chosen as the first of many locations in the city for its ‘Field of Fame.’”

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