Plantwalldesign is a unique a niche company based in New York City – one that has the power to breathe new life into your living or working space. Founded by Marie-Christine Steffanetti and Laurent Corradi, the company specializes in conceptualizing, designing and installing both living walls and moss walls into spaces. Although based in New York, the duo, and their team, have installed stunning living works of art throughout the United States, including at Harvard University.
Plantwalldesign worked with us to create a moss wall, designed around a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams mirror in New York. When we contacted the brand, it was to help us conceptualize something unique and beautiful, something that would add greenery but not take-up too much floor space in a luxury, but small, one-bedroom apartment. From the beginning, Marie-Christine and her team worked hand and hand to help bring this dream to life. They listened to our wants and layered them with years of expertise in what they believed would work best in the space.
Installing a living wall in New York can be easy or difficult, depending on the setup of the space in which you plan to install it. With the help of plantwalldesign, we decided that a moss wall would be best – because there is absolutely no maintenance involved. Once installed, there is no watering, pruning or care that needs to be directed to the custom wall. The moss walls are made-up of preserved, but not living, Norwegian moss that is intricately placed onto plywood in whatever shape, size, look and color you can dream of. For our wall, we decided that creating a “secret garden” moment around this stunning antiqued large mirror would be most stunning.
Along with moss walls, plantwalldesign creates living walls that can range in size, shape and color. If you can dream it, it’s likely they can do it. Living walls do require a light source and refillable water tank, which plantwalldesign can design and install in a minimalistic way to meet the needs of the space and client. The tank is usually refilled daily to maintain freshness and the wall is irrigated to be sure that all those gorgeous little plants growing through the installation are hydrated.
Our wall design and installation happened quickly and was truly a joy to work on with the plantwalldesign team. The outcome was extraordinary and it has added a whole new life and vibe to the space. For those looking to add something green into your living or working space, a living or moss wall is ideal. After our wall was installed, we spoke to Marie-Christine about plantwalldesign, why she founded it and how she sees it evolving in the future.
IC: Why was plantwalldesign founded?
MS: Since New York City is a vertical city, we had the idea of creating and patenting a new technology that allows plants to grow vertically using a new technique in hydroponics automation. Dense cities are known as “Concrete Jungles”, so the concept of bringing “outdoor landscape” inside of buildings, allowing people to reconnect with nature, was the trigger. After the success of our first plant wall in the U.S., we decided to develop the concept for architects, interior designers, developers and direct clients. plantwalldesign is the pioneer in live vertical garden installations since its foundation, in 2007.
IC: What is the company’s method when approaching its projects?
MS: At plantwalldesign, every project is unique, and that is clear when going through our extensive portfolio. Due to our felt patented system and over 10 years of experience, we can create, accommodate, and recommend a vertical garden design and shape according to the architect’s or client’s vision.
IC: What are the benefits of having a living wall in your personal and/or work space?
MS: There are several pieces of research about the benefits of having an indoor live vertical garden. Plants consume carbon dioxide and purify the air of volatile organic compounds. Vertical gardens regulate indoor temperature and humidity through the process of transpiration. In addition to generating a temperate environment, plants have a pleasant aroma and beautify any space they inhabit.
Large vertical garden installations also provide soundproofing because of the capacity of the felt material and plants themselves to absorb sound energy. The peaceful atmosphere created by a vertical garden increases morale and productivity. Living walls refresh viewers’ awareness, reduce stress, and elicit a meditative mood.
IC: For those not able to maintain a living wall, what benefits does a moss wall have?
MS: For spaces where a lighting system, water supply and/or a drain line are not possible, we recommend the moss. The preserved natural dry moss, lichen, stabilized is completely maintenance free. Requiring no light, trimming or water of any sort, the moss is stabilized with a process where the water is replaced with glycerin.
There are many different types of mosses available, but the most popular choice is the Reindeer Moss. This species is Cladonia Stellaris lichen that grows in the arctic. Mosses and preserved plants, while being great decoration elements, create a serene, sound-absorbing surface, perfect for any space.
IC: What is the process of designing a living wall with a client?
MS: Prior quoting and designing a live vertical garden or moss wall, we have some questions that need to be addressed in order to better understand what our client wants. The first step is to get to know our client’s taste, vision, and lifestyle. Together with the client, we decide on the plant selection according to the plant’s shape, color and texture. Then with the plant pallets, we design the vegetal sequences pattern, with the possibility to achieve different looks, such as organic, graphic, geometrical, and others.
IC: How long does it take to put a project together and install it once it’s conceptualized?
MS: After the proposal is signed, our estimated time for a live vertical garden or moss wall is between 6 – 8 weeks. For a live vertical garden, a custom-sized gutter is needed, which takes about 4 weeks to be fabricated. After its installation, and after the construction site is clean, we are ready to install the plants.
For a moss wall, since our product comes from Norway, and our projects are custom-sized and handmade, we need time in advance to design, select the material and to create the moss wall.
IC: How can plantwalldesign help their clients maintain a living wall?
MS: We recommend the frequency of the maintenance services depending on the size of the plant wall and the number of plants installed, which can be once a month, once a week, or every other week.
During a maintenance visit, the vertical gardeners trim the plants as needed to manicure the vegetal sequences in order to keep the original design of the wall and to prevent overgrowth. Debris are removed to preserve the controlled hydroponic environment and promote healthy plant maturation. At the end of each maintenance visit, the automatic irrigation system (timer, valve, pump, lines, and drippers), is fully checked and the nutrient tank is replenished. Regular maintenance optimizes plant health and growth.
IC: Where can we see your work around the country?
MS: plantwalldesign is based in New York City, however, we have projects in hotels, theaters, restaurants and commercial spaces all around the U.S. (Illinois, California, Washington DC) and Canada. Our most recent project was at the Smith Center Campus, at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There we have built 8 massive vertical gardens, installing manually over 12 thousand plants.