Desjardins unveils the tallest indoor living wall in the world
The artwork, called "The Currents", draws inspiration from the fascinating view of the St. Lawrence River
The new Desjardins building in Lévis houses the tallest interior living wall in the world. The artwork, "The Currents", was designed by Green over Grey, a design firm specializing in the creation of living walls (aka green walls or vertical gardens). For this project, they drew inspiration from the views of the St. Lawrence River visible from Quebec City and Lévis.
"When Desjardins began work on revitalizing the Cité Desjardins de la coopération in 2011, we wanted to find a tangible way to show our commitment to sustainable development and enrich our employees' work environment through meaningful initiatives, such as this beautiful living work of art. This impressive vertical garden in the new building at 150 rue des Commandeurs, in Lévis goes a long way in creating a pleasant and unique environment in which our employees can continue to thrive," stated Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and CEO of Desjardins Group.
"According to our research, this living wall is the tallest indoor vertical garden in the world," said Patrick Poiraud, co-founder of Green over Grey. "The wall is fully hydroponic (i.e. soil-free) and incorporates plants that thrive in similar vertical environments found in nature, like on tree branches and next to waterfalls. The end result is a visually pleasing piece that provides cleaner indoor air and improves both the acoustic quality and the value of the property."
The green wall complements the new building's eco-friendly concept, which is expected to receive LEED gold certification after completion September 2014.
Art imitating the stunning beauty of the St. Lawrence River
"André Roy, the project manager from Desjardins overseeing the installation, wanted to recreate the beauty of summer greenery indoors. Together with the design firm Coarchitecture, they came up with the concept for the space with the central focus being on the living wall," recalled Poiraud.
Mike Weinmaster, chief designer for Green over Grey, spent five months designing the artwork and carefully selecting the plants to create just the right balance between the different colours and textures. The colours alternate between various shades of green, yellow, crimson, purple and cream. White, red and orange flowers will bloom throughout the year.
More than 11,000 individual plants artfully arranged according to colour, texture, pattern and size covering a 15-storey wall of the new building at 150 rue des Commandeurs, in Lévis.
Plants are growing in a hydroponic system (i.e. soil free) made of 100% synthetic recycled materials. Green over Grey eco friendly panels are built from 1.5 metric tons of recycled water bottles and plastic bags. The living wall is 213 feet high (65 meters) with a total surface area of 2,139 square feet (198 square metres). 42 plant species, including philodendrons, monsteras, fig trees, ginger, snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata),elkhorn ferns (Platycerium bifurcatum), scheffleras, clusias and banana plants.
Spathiphyllum 'Mauno Loa', commonly known as peace lily, is one of the most effective oxygen-producing plants that clean and purify the air. According to the NASA Clean Air Study, the peace lily-native to tropical regions of the Americas and Southeast Asia and known for its distinctive white flower-eliminates significant amounts of pollutants, such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, which are found in photocopiers and construction materials.
Plants are laid out to evoke the beauty of the St. Lawrence River as seen from the Quebec and Lévis areas, which were chosen due to the cities' close ties with Alphonse Desjardins.
The living wall is situated on the north side of the new building, which provides office space for roughly 1,450 employees. The artwork can be seen from the opposite side of the St. Lawrence coast, specifically from the high-traffic Dufferin walkway in Old Quebec.