Vertical gardens, or living walls, are springing up across the UAE, as innovative new technologies, coupled with increased horticultural understanding, have expanded the potential design permutations of this living art form. Melanie Hunt picks her seven favourites in the UAE.
The Dubai offices and showroom of interiors brand Superstudio in Dubai feature a living wall by Vertical Garden Design. The feature includes rhipsalis, along with more-compact begonias, peperomias and streptocarpus.
The Hundred Wellness Center in Jumeirah features a moss vertical wall by Verdevip. The wall consists of moss harvested from bio-sustainable areas, and is as low maintenance as it gets, providing that installation is made in environments where there’s a humidity level of 40 per cent and no direct sunlight. This makes it ideal for gyms, spas, pool areas and darker rooms. The tiny plants are treated with glycerol and food colourant before being attached to panels.
• www.verdevip.eu; www.thehundred.ae
The UAE’s office buildings are also increasingly being decorated with living walls. This vertical garden belongs to the Shah Gas Development Programme at the Abu Dhabi Power Plant, and was created by Sandrini Green Architecture. The garden consists of 1,900 cascading plants, which include green ferns, silvery aglaonema and the violet hues of anthurium.
There are 24 vertical garden installations at the Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort and Spa, which in total cover an area of 600 square metres. French botanist Patrick Blanc, who’s considered a global leader in this field, was responsible for the installations. The koru, a fern symbolising the embodiment of new life, is one of 120 species deployed at the resort.
Leopold’s of London’s cafe and brasserie on The Beach at JBR Walk enlisted brand concept design agency Creneau International to create its vertical garden. The 6.5-metre by 3.5-metre vertical garden cost Dh190,000 to instal, and extends adjacent to the staircase, from the ground floor to the first. Lamps are directed at the plants to provide additional lighting and to support growth.
Acacia, a subsidiary of Dubai-based landscaping contractor Proscape, created a living wall that represents the UAE flag for the headquarters of the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority.
Acacia was also responsible for the living walls at the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights. Acacia exclusively uses a patented Biotecture system for its living walls, which features a by-product of basalt volcanic rock, which is spun to create a firm fibrous material that is then moulded into a series of “stone wool” panels.