The green ecosystem is becoming increasingly connected

For the fourth time, interior landscapers met in a major European city to experience its approach to ‘green’. Hosts this year were the United Kingdom and the city of London. As always, the two-day event offered participants interesting glimpses behind the scenes, experience sharing, and mutual inspiration about work, strategy and natural design. The themes this time were working naturally, sustainability and ecosystems. Discussions also focused on how EILO can develop further.

As chairman Benoit Pelleriaux put it:“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”. (Edward Everett Hale, but better known coming from Henry Ford). This excursion is a success every year but it is still only a beginning, really. If we could extend that connection throughout the year, the group would develop and we could work together more to strengthen both profession and its position; only then will there be success”.

The workshop produced many insights.

Before the official programme began, attendees were able to participate in a workshop and exchange views and experiences on the basis of five themes.  The themes were:

  • Education and knowledge exchange,
  • Ratio between and approach to sale/hire/lease
  • Service Level Agreements,
  • Online Marketing
  • Pest control

All the participants chose a theme and each theme group then presented their experiences. It was enlightening to see that the various countries differed tremendously in some respects and not at all in others. While there were significant differences in how hiring/leasing and service levels were approached in the various countries, for example, with very many tips being exchanged in that respect, the pest control challenges were the same everywhere and the demand for online marketing support related more to company size than country. The theme ‘education’, finally, revealed that all the participants had great difficulty involving young people in their organisation

The Symposium

Oliver Heath on the benefits of Biophilic Design

The symposium was kicked off by none other than biophilic design consultant, domestic energy assessor, TV presenter, writer, architectural & interior designer Oliver Heath. He said that our genes developed over the millions of years that our ancestors lived in nature and that natural processes still influence all kinds of human behaviour today, such as feelings of safety or overview. A view is important, but so too is a sense of security. Designing spaces to at least meet many of the 14 principles of biophilic design will create a sense of security and overview, and will involve using natural materials as well as considering noise and incorporating a lot of green. In today’s world, biophilic spaces instantly lead to lower heart rates and calmer brain wave patterns.

Interior landscaping in the UK by Thomas Palfreyman – Urban Planters

Thomas Palfreyman, Managing Director of Urban Planters, continued on the theme seamlessly. Biophilic design was also the trend with the biggest impact for his company, generating the most work and demanding ever higher levels of staff training. He added a new aspect to this theme by stating that millennials play an increasingly significant role, not only in relation to office design for customers but also within his own company. Young people are difficult to recruit and both they and their customers are constantly looking for ways to make this group of employees, in particular, feel at home at the office and within the company.

Jan-Pieter Melis on Sustainability as Supply Chain Challenge

This presentation prompted much discussion. Jan-Pieter explained the various activities of the Nieuwkoop Group in this respect, but the audience was keen to know much more, indicating that many in the sector wanted to be able to tell their customers about a plant’s CO2 footprint, for example. It was agreed to further address supply chain sustainability together. In fact, this presentation actually led to the third collaboration theme: working together to make the supply chain more and more sustainable.

To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow

Richard Sabin, Biotecturehttp://www.biotecture.uk.com/ chose this Audrey Hepburn quote as the opening words of his passionate speech about the need to green our urban environments. To benefit not only the climate or  rainwater discharge, but also biodiversity, human health and, ultimately, our whole economy. He claimed that most people tend to put economy first whereas it should be the exact opposite. Without a healthy ecosystem and healthy people, there wouldn’t even be an economy. He concluded with several excellent before-and-after examples to illustrate how green had literally brought these dead spots back to life.

Natural works

There is ample evidence that green is good. Seeking to convince, however, the sector tends to present the same evidence constantly, which the target group soon see as nagging. How can you change that? SIGN is currently working on a programme aimed at reaching the HRM assistant, thus focusing on happy employees rather than on plant sales or green. The message is that nature works. Not only by implementing more green but also such aspects as daylight, a healthy diet, stress reduction and exercise. The first medium, an animation film, was recently completed. An online test, enabling HRM staff to test how natural/healthy their organisation is, will follow shortly

Vistagreen Artificial Green Walls

Vistagreen founder Paul Adler’s mission is to make as attractive an artificial green wall as possible. The use of three different panels and individually inserted extras makes it practically impossible to distinguish between this wall and the real thing. He demonstrates how artificial green can bring an environment back to life beautifully, in places where it would be impossible to grow real plants. Furthermore, Vistagreen is fire resistant and completely recyclable

Mobilane

Mobilane has proven itself for years already with systems which are both ready-made and scalable; not a common combination. The well-known LivePicture living picture looks beautiful and only needs watering once every three weeks, for instance. But the modular LivePanel system behind it can also be used to create walls many metres long or high. New additions are the Green Screens. These pre-cultivated hedges instantly create a green character both indoors and outdoors.

Fachjan Project Plants

Fachjan specialises in large. Large projects and large plants. Up to four metres tall. The company also supplies smaller plants, of course, but the speciality is large. We saw examples of amazing tropical swimming pools, stylish office lobbies with trees, complete tropical greenhouses and a total green makeover of a cruise ship.

Green Mood flexible moss wall systems

This was the third time that Green Mood delivered a presentation. The company develops more and more ready-made moss systems. These already included walls, logos and green screens, new this time were the sparkles, the sound/insulating perspective boxes.

The beautiful Cocoon collection

Founded in Belgium in 2001, Cocoon develops and produces a beautiful range of stylish and sometimes very cleverly designed pots. Such as a pot that can double as a standing table.

Noviflora: trends, scale and sustainability

Not only is Noviflora one of the largest pot-plant merchants in the Netherlands, the company also focuses on spotting, creating and developing trends. Even in developing whole brands. In addition, Noviflora has a serious approach to sustainability. Examples include solar energy and cardboard packaging.

The unique plant pots by Fleur Ami

The German company Fleur Ami designs and supplies unique, often hand-made pots. It is not without reason that they often feature in various magazines and many, many shows. The company exports to no fewer than 52 countries. Now that the new head office has been completed the whole range of pots, in every shape, size and colour, can now be ordered from the webshop and delivered extremely quickly

Floating Indoor Garden by Pendularis

The -click-together suspending room divider or window system by Pendularis is unique, elegant and extremely user friendly. It is supplied with Rapid (fast growing) or Royal (the most attractive) plant sets and, if required, LED lights and, of course, an equally simple suspension system. All components can be combined modularly and ordered from the webshop.

Nature’s Green growing range and visibility

A few years ago, Nature’s Green began marketing recycled plant pots.  Now, besides being available in RAL colours, they can also be custom painted in Pantone colours. The company later expanded, supplying the Nextgen Living Wall system and now the range also includes Room Dividers and the BioMontage system. The company is also increasing its visibility by setting up Dutch stands at major international trade fairs and exhibitions.

Natural Greenwalls, the flexible, low-maintenance green wall system

The Natural Greenwalls green wall system was conceived by a Danish indoor landscaper. It is very low maintenance, replacing the plants is simple and the water consumption is very efficient. The system can be used just as easily for very small and very large walls.

Chairman Benoît Pelleriaux and author of Plants XL5, Sander Kroll

The launch of Plants Extra Large 5 by Sander Kroll

‘Now you know what the EILO is doing with our money’, Chairman Benoît Pelleriaux started, while he was unpacking  a really huge book. ‘Well,.. this is what we are doing’. EILO has bought 1500 books from Sander Kroll in advance and could resell them to their members for the nice low price of € 12.50 (retail price comes to around € 40.00). These books can be used to give customers new ideas. The books were sold out in no time.

The Excursion on Friday

The happy office of Uncommon Spaces

Happy offices are particularly popular with millennials, who take little persuading. It’s almost better than being at home. Comfy, sink-into sofas, a lovely roof terrace, delicious food and plants everywhere, that you simply take to the office yourself. The idea is based on the concept of Biophilic design but, in our opinion, overly dominated by the styling effects. Because growing plants in such small pots makes them very high maintenance and constantly having to replace them becomes a logical consequence. According to Sam McCarthy of Plant Designs, who showed us round, there are as many as 500 plants in this building, watering them all takes 8 hours a week and, on average, 30  plants need replacing every week.

Crossrail Gardens at Canary Wharf

Officially, this is not an interior landscape because there are holes in the roof but, be that as it may, it remains a public enclosed garden. Plants are grown in less than a metre and a half of soil in a controlled system, but this three-year-old indoor garden is so big and natural that it is its own source of life. The heart of the landscape consists of ferns, bamboo and grasses. There were tense moments last winter, when much seemed to have frozen, but the garden has recovered remarkably well. It has foxes and birds living in it, as well as countless insects, of course, and hundreds of visitors every day. Maintenance takes 3 people 4 hours a day. It stays fairly neat and tidy, thanks to the solidly laid paths and the fact that it is closed to the public in the evening and at night. The irrigation system could have been designed more cleverly, though. Now, if it rains through the open holes in the roof, irrigation continues. So those spots get far too wet. And yes, the manager agrees, it would really be better to change the ecosystem in that part of the garden and make a pond.

The clean indoor landscaping of Catlin

After lunch in Docklands we left South London and headed for the city. And the city is full of big glass office blocks. Luckily we were able to visit one of them and to see a good cross section of interior landscaping in these types of buildings. In these kinds of environment. green must be as efficient and as low-maintenance as possible. Enterprise Plants, owned by Chris Jenkins, is responsible for the landscaping and maintenance here. The … storey building is so enormous that there is a maintenance worker in the building every day.

The Sky’s the limit at Sky Garden

The spectacular grand finale of the excursion across London was a visit to Sky Garden in the Walkie Talkie building. Looking out over London from here, the breathtaking views are unparalleled, but turn your gaze to the inside and there is almost as much to see. There is a restaurant at the heart of Sky Garden and a bar on each of two floors, but the two beautifully landscaped gardens weaving round them left and right, from Tropical (top) to Mediterranean (bottom) create a unique, spacious green ambience. This place is so popular that you have to make a reservation to visit it. We were given a guided tour by …, who told us that the landscaping should have been completed within nine weeks. Everything had to hoisted up by crane. 48 tons of soil, countless trees and smaller plants. They worked in two shifts to get it all done in time, just before the roof really would be closed and the building opened.

Some of the plants are very much at home here, practically reaching the ceiling already, while others haven’t quite settled yet. The managers continue to experiment with organic pest control and introducing new varieties to keep the gardens healthy.

More pictures and movies

The pictures shown here are of course only a small selection. See here all the collected pictures and movies. If you did participate in the excursion and want to share your photos, please feel free to contact us at info@intogreen.nl