From Philadelphia to Paris, “living walls” are taking the world by storm. A smart design element, these vertical gardens are pretty to look at, while also cleaning the air around them. (We especially love the one at the Six Senses Spa in Paris.) In London this week, an enormous living wall was unveiled at Rubens Hotel in Victoria. Comprising 16 tons and more than 10,000 ferns and herbaceous plants, the wall is almost 70 feet high and covers an entire facade. Intended to provide wildlife habitat and reduce surface flooding, the wall will also help insulate the hotel, naturally—keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Needless to say, this living wall will also improve the neighborhood's air quality, sucking the pollution out of the air.
And for garden geeks: There will be an array of ever-changing flowers, depending on the season, like buttercups, spring bulbs, geraniums, and even strawberries, chosen because of the seasonal colors they provide, and also because they attract key pollinators (like bees).
As quoted in Dezeen, designer Gary Grant of Green Roof Consultancy explains how the green wall has a sustainable drainage system: "The living wall is irrigated using rainwater harvested from the roofs and stored in tanks before being fed through the wall, from which it evaporates.” Promoting green damage systems, thereby avoiding surface water flooding on roads after heavy rains, is a pet project of London mayor Boris Johnson. For more information, visit www.rubenshotel.com.