Living Walls in Retail Environments

How Biophilia Can Improve the Shopping Experience...

GSKY Green Wall at The Avenues Mall in Kuwait

Green spaces are an easy way to symbolize life and energy, especially in stark indoor settings that seem to lack these two qualities on their own. Bringing plants indoors offers a splash of colour, while simultaneously benefiting the air and the people in the indoor environment. While your first instinct might be to include a few potted plants around a retail store to add a bit of life, there’s a more effective method.

Living walls are entirely unique features that bring more than just a green setting to an otherwise bleak environment. They also provide cleaner, fresher air which offers customers a better experience and workers a more productive shift.

Five storey living walls in shopping center

Plant life in retail settings acts as it does anywhere else: it reduces stress, mental fatigue, and pain, helps task performance and attention, and improves overall mood. Plants also create a much more welcoming atmosphere, especially when placed in an urban environment. Studies have shown that shops and shopping centres with abundant plant-life are more likely to be endorsed and frequented more often by customers, and will typically see more sales as well. The same stress and fatigue reduction is seen in employees as well, providing a happier and healthier workplace, and thus a greater quality of life.

Choom Cannabis Living Wall in Niagara store front

For further proof of living walls’ positive effects, consider the results of a neuroscientific study conducted  by researcher Mark S. Rosenbaum and his team for the University of South Carolina. The group studied the neural responses of study participants in response to videos of the same shopping centre, both with and without an abundance of plant life. Even on a neural level, the biophilic designs registered a deeper interest and focus, reduced stress, and increased curiosity about surroundings compared to the barren mall style. Most of the participants also noted afterwards that they would spend more time in the greener mall, as the lifeless mall encouraged boredom.

Similarly, Kathleen Wolf - a social scientist who has devoted many years and studies to the benefits of biophilic design - polled consumers throughout several years on their opinions of shopping centres and stand-alone shops. A vast majority of respondents held a higher opinion on shops and the quality of their products when there were green spaces in or around the store. To further the point, she also compared the sales of greener stores to non-green stores and found that consumers were willing to pay more for the same product in a green atmosphere. 

Living wall in Toronto Cafe Kupfert & Kim

Living walls are a new way to utilize these advantages of plant-life in a way that’s energy, time, and resource-efficient, and actually offers more in terms of benefits. The hydroponic design of biofilter living walls grants the roots direct access to the air, maximizing the plants’ capability of purifying the air in their surroundings. Biofilter living walls are proven to remove up to 30% of common pollutants, and drastically reduce volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene, breaking them down into carbon dioxide and water.

Living walls provide a multitude of health benefits while improving the shopping experience. Improving the customer’s mood and opinion of the company sets a business apart and cements their image in the customer’s mind.