4 minute read

Investing in a Natural Workplace

Project Details| Project Value: $136,000 | Build Time: 1 year of planning & 2.5 weeks of installation | Size: 2 floors, 2 moss walls totaling 854 sq. ft. | Awards: NALP 2022 Gold Awards of Excellence

Project Details| Project Value: $136,000 | Build Time: 1 year of planning & 2.5 weeks of installation | Size: 2 floors, 2 moss walls totaling 854 sq. ft. | Awards: NALP 2022 Gold Awards of Excellence

Investing in a Natural Workplace

Dennis' 7 Dees Landscaping | Oregon State Treasury Biophilic Design

The Oregon State Treasury commissioned the company to create a biophilic design that would reflect the lush landscapes surrounding it, while still maintaining a modern aesthetic.

“Oregon has so many wonderful outdoor elements to enjoy—from the ocean, mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, valleys and desert,” says Paige. “They wanted to reflect the beauty of the state they represent.”

The concept of biophilic design is to connect people with nature by creating spaces with natural light and plants. Paige says the other reason the client wanted to incorporate this type of design was to reduce the stress levels of their employees.

Biophilic design is important to utilize in our built environment to sooth the negative effects of urbanization

“Our innate connection to nature is not only relaxing but also healing. The effects of biophilia have also been shown to affect employee retention and attract new employees. People are looking for a higher quality in their work environment and spaces to take breaks and relax,” she says.

Once the final plans were approved, the project only took about two weeks to create and four days to install. They encountered a few challenges because of tight deadlines, delays and product shortages.

The moss material they chose for the three 29-foot living walls was delayed because of flooding in Canada. They also did not have enough of the moss types for the original design, so they had to make a few adjustments.

The building’s floors were laid before Paige’s team installed the moss walls. They needed a scissor lift for the walls, but it exceeded the weight limit of the new flooring. The area had little space for any other type of equipment, so they had to get creative.

“We had to have a technician hang from the ceiling beams in a harness and screw in the remaining panels on the 29-foot-high wall,” she says. “Thank goodness he wasn’t afraid of heights!”

Moss walls need very little care after installation, but Paige designed the planter beds with maintenance in mind. Her team is contracted to take care of them for one year after installation.

“We design all our plant designs for long-term success with the intent to maintain them,” she says. “We want to make it easy on our technicians and our clients.”

Paige has been involved in biophilic design professionally for four years, but she has had an interest in the concept for a decade—after seeing the benefits plants had on her mental health when she spent most of one winter working in a greenhouse.

“I did not experience seasonal depression at all, which I normally do every winter. (It was) a miracle to me,” she says. “Ever since then, I’ve been passionate about sharing with other people the benefits nature can have on our mental health.”

She believes that more companies will consider incorporating elements of biophilic design into their workspaces to benefit their employees. After the COVID-19 pandemic, many people had to return to their offices after several months of working from home.

“Companies are going to great lengths to create a work environment that is more welcoming than your own home,” she says. “(A place) where you actually want to visit a few times a week to collaborate with colleagues and enjoy a more creative and productive space.”

Get in Touch With...

Paige Tisdale

Design & Development at Dennis’ 7 Dees

Phone: (503)777–7777

Email: paiget@dennis7dees.com dennis7dees.com