Design David Brenner
Installation Habitat Horticulture
General Contractor Turner Construction
Location 75 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, CA
Photographer Garry Belinsky
When it came time to renovate the lobby and cafe area of the Environmental Protection Agency’s San Francisco offices, it was clear that a living wall would do wonders for the space as well as send the right message – putting a focus on the natural world that the EPA is tasked with protecting. Habitat Horticulture was called upon to make that idea a reality and delivered two walls for the agency, one in the lobby and one in the cafe.
The design aim was for the lobby wall to feel very much plucked from nature – using greens and blues and amorphous plant forms and compositions for a less structured feeling. The blue fern, a.k.a. Polypodium aureum, works well to that end, and sits nicely alongside the bright green and soft weeping foliage of the Asparagus plumosa. In the cafe, meanwhile, the goal was to set the wall apart and offer a sense of progression from the lobby to the office interior. That was accomplished in part by using more color – employing the vibrant hues of the Philodendron orange prince and the Fittonia verschaffeltii ‘Red Star’. Both walls serve to counteract some of the colder silver and white hues of the interior as well as play off the wood paneling in other areas.
Working closely with Interior Architects, the firm responsible for the renovation, Habitat Horticulture was able to try new things with the design while ensuring it worked well with the overall vision of the space. The cafe wall is notable in that it extends from the interior of the cafe through to the exterior of the building – a unique design that helps bring a dynamism to the space.