Creating indoor nature

Bosco Verticale has a strong visual impact on the surrounding public realm. Image credit: COIMA

“We create indoor nature by adding natural elements to office buildings. Planters. Fixed and mobile green walls. Green landscapes. Indoor gardens. Green works of art. But also plug and play product where it only takes putting the plug into the socket to activate it. On top of that we are specialists in water walls and indoor water elements.”

In brief, Tonny van Hall explains what his company, art aqua, is doing. Art aqua is a German company that creates greener office buildings and Tonny is art aqua’s Dutch representative, building up a European dealer organisation and a network of interior decorators.

More and more people are convinced of the power of green. People work more effectively when there are plants in their workplace. There is less absenteeism. In general, they are in a better mood which affects their work in both quality and quantity.

“Architects may be our most important group of clients,” Tonny says. “Years ago plant decorations were only used when an office building was almost completed. These days we work with architects from the beginning of the design process. By doing so we integrate our vision for plants and water elements into the overall plan, which improves the end results enormously. And being part of the team means you are not indistinguishable anymore.”

“Many of our products have been tested by the renowned German Fraunhofer Society. This means our products have proven benefits. It is, for instance, a proven fact that a good indoor climate in an office building diminishes the number of sick days per employee each year by 2.5 to 3. So investing in a good indoor climate makes a lot of sense and gives a quick return on investment.”

“Another of our usp’s is our ability to create solid water walls and water elements. Everyone is afraid of flooding but our products are solid enough to avoid it. And there is proof that you can lower the indoor temperature by creating humidity in your space. This is important since lowering your indoor temperature by 1°C equates with lowering your energy costs by 6%.”

“A green office is a healthy office. Plants improve the air quality and reduce harmful substances. Plants and water features are an even better combination in an office building for with water features you can diminish dust, electrosmog, smells and other harmful substances. Office water features create a healthier environment for plants. They won’t get dusty and their stomata remain open so they continue to release oxygen.”

In modern offices the air is often too dry. By using plants and water you can improve that, which, for example, prevents your employees’ contact lenses from getting dry (and your employees from getting irritated).”

“Greening office buildings creates opportunities for both companies like art aqua and for interior decorators and plants growers. The plants we use are purchased from a local grower. Next to our Dutch showroom is a specialized nursery for large project plants so we do quite a lot of business with them.”

“There are endless applications in greening buildings and we are full of ideas, so there are endless possibilities to use plants in and around offices. It is a product that makes sense in today’s work environment. Employers try to unite good, talented (often young) employees. Creating an agreeable, healthy workspace is an excellent way for employees to bond because this makes them feel better. So here is a sustainability issue that is full of promise.”

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