A sleek corporate image can include lush, green foliage

By Darah Hansen, Vancouver Sun, January 31, 2011 12:07 Am

It's not easy to thrive in an office environment where natural light, fresh air and a little personal attention now and then can too often be in rare supply.

But JOanne Craft knows of a few hearty souls that won't wilt under such neglect. Craft is a Vancouver-based environmental designer and consultant who specializes in interior "plantscaping." She's tracked the latest trends in West Coast workplace greenery for 2011.

Her top-10 list favours lush, green tones and variegated foliage designed to "heighten and satisfy our senses," while projecting a sleek, "haute" corporate image in keeping with Vancouver's green philosophy.

"These are plants that offer dense foliage and can tolerate lower light levels and reflect more of the natural surroundings of the Pacific Rim," Craft wrote in an email exchange with The Sun.

But the plants aren't just there to look good. They're also hard workers.

From the tough Aspidistra elatior, with its small, purple-hued flowers, to the dramatic Bird of Paradise, workplace plants help to improve air quality, reduce noise and even contribute to the thermal control of a building.

Well-chosen greenery can also boost worker productivity and engagement.

"There are just so many proven benefits for well-being," said Craft, whose list of clients includes the Shangri-La Hotel, Marriott Pinnacle and Fairmont Pacific Rim.

In choosing the appropriate plant, Craft said it's important to keep in mind the location size, temperature and light levels.

"It's about pairing the right place and the right plant ... That's key," she said. 

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