When you think of auto body shops, lush, green foliage may not be the first image that springs to mind. However, an innovative plant display is at the center of the interior design at Selecta Auto Body. The Bay Area auto specialists opened their new eco-friendly shop recently in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, complete with suspended planters hanging from their shop wall. Selecta Auto Body owner, J.R. Hubbarb, worked for plantscaping company Plant Design in his mid-twenties as a plant care technician.
While working at Plant Design, J.R. became fast friends with plant designer, Jon LaDow. So when the time came to add nature’s touch to his new shop, J.R. knew Jon was the right person for the job.
Well-known in the industry for his design prowess, Jon LaDow has won widespread praise for his eye-catching exterior/interior landscapes and imaginative holiday displays. When J.R. contacted him about the project, Jon jumped at the opportunity to help a friend and work on an atypical project. After serving customers for nearly 40 years out of their previous location, Selecta set out to upgrade to a new location that not only allowed for better equipment but enabled J.R. and team to create a truly green building.
“We took into consideration many things to ensure we were designing an eco-friendly work space, including the plantscaping,” said Mr. Hubbard. “My wife (Jackie) and I actually met when we were working for Plant Design and have known Jon for 20 years.”
“We reached out to Jon because we wanted to add a lot of plants to our work space. We were looking for good plants that we could put out of the way of the equipment so the shop would have a good oxygen turnover and air filtration.”
Jon surveyed the space and came up with innovative plant design and installation plan. The Ambius team installed little over 300 pothos installed in wall-mounted planters. While the automobiles may be pumping out carbon dioxide, the plants are pumping out oxygen and cleaning the air of toxins. Jon designed the wall-mounted pothos to match the general shape of Selecta Auto Body’s highly recognizable sign that hangs near the shop’s entrance. The sign was installed previously and a graphic designer friend of J.R. added their logo within the sign.
“Our signs are red throughout the shop. The way the big, green plant displays balance the red is really cool,” said J.R. “I don’t know an auto body shop that has more than two plants in their shop much less 300 plants.”
Spending time in his previous professional life maintaining interior plants, J.R. cemented his lifelong appreciation for plant life and also provided him the skills to care for the shop’s plants himself. “To this day, I still tell people that (working for Plant Design) was the best job I ever had. I enjoyed visiting offices where people were killing themselves working and water their plants.”
Having plants in their shop was so important to the Selecta team, that they earmarked budget from the very beginning of the process for the design, installation and upkeep of the plants. Not only will the plants delight customers aesthetically, but will reduce noise levels inside the facility. Mounted on a big concrete wall, the plants will act a sound buffer in an environment that can be quite noisy.
“Selecta wanted to do something bold and make a statement on the walls of the shop,” said Jon LaDow, Designer at Ambius. “The wall-mounted trofts needed to extend out from the wall to avoid intermixing with the piping.” In addition to the wall, Jon added plants to the balcony leading up to the 2nd floor and the stairs near the front door.
View these before and after photos of the project.
To view more of Jon LaDow’s design work, visit his online portfolio.
For more information on Selecta Auto Body shop, visit www.selectaautobody.com
What do you think of this one-of-a-kind project? Have questions? Share below in the comments!
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