Millennials love plants so much they’re convincing tech companies to replace office artwork with ‘living walls’

The redesigned Apple store on 5th Ave has a living wall.

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The redesigned Apple store on 5th Ave has a living wall.
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Mary Meisenzahl

Tech companies and VC firms are increasingly incorporating plants into corporate offices and retail spaces.

There are a few reasons why this green design movement is taking off, and they have to do with millennials’ preferences as they move up in the workforce, according to Stacy Colman of Plant Wall Design.

Millenials love plants. Amazon now carries live houseplants, and other direct-to-consumer plant start-ups like The Sill, Bloomscape, and Horti, are appearing, offering services like monthly subscriptions and “jungle” kits – plant starter kits sold as a theme, like “pet-friendly” or “hard to kill.”

Serene Buckley of Habitat Horticulture, another company that does living wall installations, also noted the positive psychological effects that plants can have on stress and productivity.

Millennial’s love of plants and wellness, along with businesses’ incentives to make offices and stores comfortable so people stay longer, have made the perfect environment for plant walls to flourish.


Buckley told Business Insider in an email that logo walls are a particularly hot trend for tech companies, like this one at eBay that incorporated flowers in its office in San Jose, California.

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Created by botanical design studio Planted Design.
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Planted Design

While millennials reportedly “kill” various industries, the generation has embraced “plant parenthood” and is purchasing species of plants like monstera and pothos with a frequency older generations haven’t. The trend is alive in Poshmark’s office in Redwood City, California.

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Created by botanical design studio Planted Design.
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Planted Design

As millennials are bringing plants into their homes, they also want plants in the office, Colman told Business Insider. Chinese gaming company and media conglomerate Tencent also has a logo incorporated into its living wall in its Palo Alto, California office.

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Living wall in Tencent’s Palo Alto office.
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Habitat Horticulture

Allbirds’ office in San Francisco has two large plant installations with different shades of green, which Colman says makes the office feels more like a home than bare white walls.

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Living wall in Allbird’s San Francisco office.
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Habitat Horiculture

Millennials are the “wellness generation,” and products promising wellness are part of an industry is worth over $4 trillion globally, according to a report by the Global Wellness Institute. The Salesforce headquarters in San Francisco has a plant installation, which Buckley notes can have positive health effects.

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Created by botanical design studio Planted Design.
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Planted Design

The company’s plant wall incorporates moss instead of leafy plants, which designers say requires less care.

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Created by botanical design studio Planted Design.
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Planted Design

In one of the most ambitious uses of plants, Amazon’s Seattle campus has three interlocking domes containing a biosphere.

Source: Business Insider


The domes, which are 100 feet tall, are home to more than 300 species of plants, many of which are endangered.

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Amazon’s biosphere in Seattle.
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Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


The domes are a conservation project, a place for Amazon workers to get some fresh air, and a tourist attraction all in one.

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Amazon’s biosphere in Seattle.
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Reuters/Lindsey Wasson

Positive health effects of having plants around are well understood — they can improve air quality by literally producing oxygen from carbon dioxide. They can also absorb noise pollution, like at Slack’s office in San Francisco.

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Living wall in Slack’s San Francisco office.
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Habitat Horticulture

At Slack, the living wall is also part of the entire floor’s design, which uses greenery and light fixtures to mimic the feeling of hiking behind a waterfall.

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Slack’s San Francisco office has a Waterfall-themed floor.
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Studio O+A

Companies like Google are using millennials’ plant obsession to their advantage in the Sunnyvale, California campus.

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Created by botanical design studio Planted Design.
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Planted Design

Colman explained that where a company might have previously installed a large, expensive piece of art, now it sees a plant wall as an option with “more bang for their buck,” and she described these walls as “art with benefits.”

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Created by botanical design studio Planted Design
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Planted Design

Venture Capital firms have jumped on the trend. This installation welcomes employees and clients at VC Ridge Ventures in San Francisco.

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Created by botanical design studio Planted Design
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Planted Design

Close-up, the details designers put into these pieces are visible, with different colors and textures to keep them interesting.

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Created by botanical design studio Planted Design
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Planted Design

Colman said that plant walls give an office environment “a different tenor,” almost making employees feel like they’re working in a garden, like in San Francisco venture capital firm Combine.

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Another San Francisco office, Combine, has a living wall too.
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Habitat Horiculture

Office perks used to include junk food and catered lunches, but for a health-conscious generation, plant walls could keep them at work longer. This installation is located in Open Table’s San Francisco office.

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Created by botanical design studio Planted Design.
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Planted Design

The newly redesigned Apple store on Fifth Avenue features two large plant walls next to benches and charging stations.

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Fifth Ave Apple Store has two living walls.
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Mary Meisenzahl

Like in an office, the walls can make an environment more welcoming, encouraging people to stay longer in the retail space.

The redesigned Apple store on 5th Ave has a living wall.

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Fifth Ave Apple Store has two living walls.
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Mary Meisenzahl