In 2017, companies and corporations started prioritizing sustainability and ethics protocols, according to at trend report by Mind Body Green. Another study shows indoor plants can have a positive impact on well-being, which makes for a perfect spa decoration. For spas, inserting living walls or vertical gardens into its interior design can provide an array of sustainable, as well as visual, benefits. This feature has been a trend for spas this year, but are also widely popular among offices, universities, and other spaces.
There are an array of plants that can be used for living walls, like ferns or ivy, but this depends on where the wall will be located. According to Al Benner, president of Moss Walls, moss has the most added benefits compared to other plants as it has been purifying and oxygenating the Earth for over 500 million years. "[Moss] will not only calm the mood of the visitors but also give a strong inspiration for nature, moisture, and purity," says Fred Zülli, Ph. D, founder of Mibelle Biochemistry. Zülli also says that moss plants balance the moisture in a spa and purify the air.
At YO1 Luxury Nature Cure (Monticello, NY), guests are greeted into the wellness atrium with a floor to ceiling plant wall. “Nature plays an important part of our overall theme. Apart from the most apparent benefits of plants, this wall adds the novelty factor to the wellness atrium,” says Sameer Targe, CEO at Essel Group.
The walls can be placed anywhere as they can be made in any size. For spas, large floor-to-ceiling walls would be a focal point to the reception areas, while more compact walls could be useful in treatment rooms. Benner’s walls provide a sound therapy as they have a water basin which is the same noise as a waterfall. “There’s no right or wrong location,” says Benner.
Living walls are also ideal design elements for urban spas. Not only do they provide a dose of nature, but these plant walls also reduce noise.“They act as an isolation because there’s a layer of air between the plant and the wall. They reflect and retract as well as absorb any kind of sound energy,” says Joanna Roche, executive director of the Green Spa Network. For spas looking to reduce their carbon footprint, plant installations can also help. Roche agrees that these living walls are a great way to have a sustainable, refreshing spa interior.
Both Roche and Benner agree that these walls also provide a calming, visually pleasing feature that is very low-maintenance for spa staff and can provide healing benefits for clients. “You’re really bringing the nature inside," Roche says.
The maintenance for these walls will vary based on whether it is living or preserved and the plant type. Preserved walls, which are basically just dried and dyed plants, provided virtually no benefits, says Benner. “They do nothing for the indoor air quality,” he says. Benner’s moss walls have automatic misters installed already, eliminating the need for constant watering. Without the misters, the maintenance is the same for any indoor plant: water and sunlight.
One concern that may arise with these walls is insects. This issue can be solved by an organic, biological spray, which is added as a preventative to Benner’s walls when installed.
Despite this one concern, living walls are a great way to create a healing and sustainable design feature inside of spas. For more info about Benner’s moss walls, check out his website here.
2019 Spa And Wellness Trend: A Breath Of Fresh Air