A growth industry: How to bring the outdoors in with living art

Walking into the Vancouver headquarters of Lululemon Athletica, I’m greeted by yoga-pant-wearing staffers whose glow seems somehow even more luminescent against the backdrop of a lush, three-storey vertical garden. The work of Vancouver-based design firm Green over Grey, this fully hydroponic “living wall” contains more than 2,000 individual plants representing 20 unique species – but no soil. It’s planted into a thin, two-layered membrane made entirely of recycled materials. Different shades of foliage evoke a wood-grain pattern, and the woods themselves.



“For the people that work here, it feels like you’re not in an office,” says Lululemon’s Karen O’Connor, who works in community and media relations. “On one of those dark, rainy, typical Vancouver days … it feels refreshing to come in here.”


This has felt like a long winter already, with Canadians in the East snapping in the cold and those of us on the West Coast chilled to the rainy bone. It can be hard to remember what it was like to be outside and not cursing the elements. These bleak weeks can have us pining for proximity to all things green.


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