Laura Burns-Lambert


Case Study – Northgate Mall Interior Landscape Design

Northgate Mall was once a tired, out of date and empty mall, which needed a little creative ingenuity with a modern twist to turn the mall into a thriving retail destination center. Northgate Mall has been a part of the Marin County community for 42 years and with a broad range of clientele, with needs to meet, it was vital for reinventions to keep its communities interest.

Working with Macerich and Architects, wanting nothing more than live bamboo in a less than ideal natural environment, it took skill and design expertise, and sharing many samples from Preserved Treescapes to promote all involved that preserved bamboo was the best way to go. The minimalist design with live plants again, needed design expertise to really make an impact with minimal visual ‘fuss’. Planting have to be low to keep in scale with the open-ness of this mall. The plant material has to be unique and different while providing color.

Many challenges were faced in the installation of bamboo, as the containers chosen by the architect were very shallow and fearing foot traffic common to popular malls, a quick remedy was needed with a safe way to secure the bamboo in these containers, while keeping the cost down.

The installations of preserved and live material were installed in phases before business hours. The complete project was signed off in mid October, all needed to be completed a week before thanksgiving. Hollow wood platforms with holes for the bamboo were custom built to fit each container, and painted black before poly pebbles were applied. The poly pebbles were then glued down with an amazing black adhesive after much testing to find the right adhesive that would hold polished poly plastic to wood and endure curious hands.

The second round of installation, in the middle of the holiday season brought in live plants. Custom 6 month rotations of live plants were created with a minimalistic design. Masses of neon greens, variegated dracaenas and pepperomias with pinks and whites give the feel of spring and summer, while the fall and winter rotation read deep reds, warm greens and frosty whites.

Interior Plants Work: Northgate Mall

Interior Plants Work: Northgate Mall

The malls new image was the use of serene simplicity, with touches of warmth from a mixture of preserved plantings, minimal live rotations, and arrangements with both, live and silks. Greeting the growing crowds that come to experience the continuing new image retail shopping malls are providing.

Positive feedback as been ongoing and the mall is a new active destination for shoppers in the Marin County area and surroundings.

View Laura's portfolio images for the Northgate Mall here:

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