Uncommon Liverpool Street

Co-working
EC2

With a strong focus on experiential design, Uncommon is not your average coworking space. By carefully considering factors including ergonomics, planting, sound, lighting, and scent, each one of their central London locations is imbued with a sense of creativity, offering a unique proposition to clients across the capital.

The Brief

With Plant Designs’ biophilic focus and Uncommon’s desire for extensive planting, this new site based on Liverpool Street, London was a natural progression in an already great working relationship. Uncommon asked for dense planting coverage both inside and out, with a sky garden and large tree being the central focus of the planting design. Seeing green (in a good way) Sam, our Design and Development consultant, set to work on the most ambitious and challenging design he’d ever faced.

The Solution

In addition to a wide range of plants throughout the building (700 plants were sourced for this project), Plant Designs were asked to specify and supply a 6-meter tree for the luxurious café area. The tree, a Ficus alii, was handpicked from a nursery in Holland where it had been growing for approximately 25 years. Weighing around 500kg, the tree was pruned, wrapped and shipped to London. Once there, the tree was unloaded into a temporary pot and placed under supplementary lighting to help it acclimatise to the new environment.

However, the journey continued, as this was not the tree’s final destination.

The tree needed to be craned onto the 8th floor terrace of the building in bustling Liverpool Street, where it would be lowered onto the 7th floor by hand. It took a team of 20 people to carry the tree and place it into position, where it now stands green and proud!

The building contains over 200 freestanding plant displays as well as planting integrated with joinery items such as hot desks and auditorium seating. Working closely with the joinery and construction teams on-site, Plant Designs first needed to provide waterproof materials to ensure that the joinery was both water tight and contained adequate planting space for plants not only to survive but to thrive.

Visually, the planting was to look organic and well-grown, focusing on a mixture of broad-leaved plants as well as some finer foliage to add texture. It was therefore imperative that Sam chose the right planting to achieve this aesthetic, taking each individual environment in account.

The free-standing plants were specified to each area of the building, ensuring a long and healthy life for every display. This site proudly hosts the biggest variety of species of any site we’ve ever planted, with an extensive selection of forms, sizes, and shapes on display. It was also important to factor in that, as, a flexible workspace, the free standing displays will often be moved, requiring the pots and plants to be versatile, both aesthetically and horticulturally.

For the areas that could not be reached for regular aftercare, we used replica or preserved materials. One such example is a moss wall on the 8th floor, and over 70 square metres’ worth of replica ivy garlands. The ivy garlands are suspended above the auditorium and co-working areas, while the moss wall brings life to an otherwise uninhabited surface. Although not living, the materials used are of high quality, helping to deliver the biophilic message visually throughout the building.

The end result is possibly one of the most beautiful workspaces in London. Months of preparation and hard work from all teams involved, as well as careful planning and design, ultimately helped to deliver not only on aesthetic but also functionality. People using the space have shared an abundance of photos on social media so far, as well as reporting improved wellbeing and workplace satisfaction.

Forming a very close working relationship with Plant Designs has helped sustain our biophilic branding. Since the beginning of our partnership, their knowledge, experience and love of plants has kept our building one of the greenest in London!
Jo
Head of Operations, Uncommon
  • Species Featured
  • Ficus lyrata
  • Ficus alii
  • Strelitzia
  • Sansevieria
  • Maranta
  • Cissus rhombifolia
  • Dracaena trifasciata
  • Monstera deliciosa
  • Tradescantia