Vertical Gardens

Vertical Gardens is the first publication to present a collection of important examples of the exciting trend toward planted walls in urban environments. The book showcases over thirty outstanding projects from leading architects and designers, including Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano (California Academy of Sciences), Andree Putman, and artist Jeff Koons (“Puppy” sculpture at the Bilbao Guggenheim). Patrick Blanc, the French creator of the plant wall, has nine projects represented in the book. The text is beautifully illustrated with 250 color photographs, mostly by Mario Ciampi.

The technique for creating vertical gardens is based on the principles of hydroponics (growing plants in water with dissolved nutrients), combined with framing systems that support imaginative combinations of plants on building walls, both exterior and interior, or on sculptures. Plants can transform walls by giving them a landscaped look, while improving the air quality in their urban environment.

Vertical plantings provide attractive and imaginative alternatives to conventional horizontal gardens, when space for green areas may be expensive and difficult to find in cities like New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, and even San Francisco. They have been used in many settings, including hotels, office buildings, museums, and parking garages.

From an aesthetic perspective, Jacques Leenhardt writes, in his introduction,

One has the impression that the gardener, or botanist (or perhaps we should simply call him the artist), varies the textures, density, and tones of the plant material in the same way as if the wall were a classical painting….Rather than limit ourselves to a comparison with painting, perhaps it is more fitting to look more closely at the strong similarities between these shimmering green walls and the art of tapestry weaving.

Katherine Greenberg, garden designer
Lafayette, California