One thing about being a member of the business community here in Vancouver; we love getting together for chat and a few drinks, regardless of our respective industries. This is a great city to do business in, while making friends at the same time.
Recently, I attended an event put on by INGDirect at their Howe & Pender branch here in Vancouver. It was a launch of their newly renovated space, which effectively turns the model of a traditional bricks and mortar bank branch into something more. They’ve made their Vancouver INGDirect branch into a free wifi cafe, and have invited the community to come in to use it. A great idea!
A priority with this project has been making sure that the space ‘breathes’, that it is imbued with a welcoming atmosphere. To help with this, they’ve had a green wall installed.
What’s a green wall?
It’s much like a green roof, only vertically installed and is generally more accessible. You can walk up and touch it. This particular green wall was installed by a company called Green Over Grey here in Vancouver.
I spoke to a representative of the company who was also at the event, and asked him about some of the benefits of green walls in commercial spaces like this. The first clear benefit is obviously aesthetic value. It’s lush, luxuriant, and exudes a natural quality that brings humanity to a space.
Air quality is another big benefit, as is insulation and better climate control. And of course there is the point about both aesthetics, better air, and generally more comfortable working space contributing to another benefit – better productivity.
Besides all of these benefits, I think there’s a lot to be said in bringing the natural world, and the world of commerce together even in this subtle way. Traditionally, nature and commerce have been looked upon as diametrically opposed forces. But, even in the union between a financial institution (albeit a non-traditional one) and the presence of nature operating in the same space, it’s an indication that this need not necessarily be the case.
And perhaps if more of the natural is brought into urban centers, perhaps our cities would benefit from even more from them in addition to better air quality, less noise, and less graffiti (it’s pretty difficult to ‘tag’ a green wall). Maybe the subtle reminder of the beauty of the natural world in downtown spaces might expand the possibilities of city living, and working, and our enjoyment and fulfillment when it comes to both.
To learn more, check out more benefits of green walls at Green Over Grey.
You can follow the company on Twitter at @Green_Wall
Thanks to Meena Sandhu at INGDirect for the images you see here.