2016 Year In Review – How Did We Do?

Posted on Dec 22, 2016
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Moss walls in creative designs are hotter than ever and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Moss walls in creative designs are hotter than ever and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

As we head into our 40th year of operation, Good Earth Plant Company is more committed than ever to our mission to bring the beauty, health, wellbeing and environmental benefits of living plants and nature into your life. We started our business providing interior plantscaping design and service to many of the leading workspaces in the San Diego region.

Plantscaping is still at the heart of what we do, but our thinking about it has evolved. Making our workplaces and homes look “nice” is a fine motivation. But we now grasp the importance of integrating nature into our lives everyday by bringing the “outside” into our buildings and our urban environment with plants, and the many positive effects of doing so.

Lots of people make their predictions for the year to come, and Good Earth Plants was no different. One year ago we made our predictions about workplace design trends for 2016.

But how many of the people who put out predictions have the guts to review them a year later to see what they got right? We’re one of the few!

In December 2015, we predicted 2016 would be the year employers were forced by the improving jobs picture and the employment marketplace to make work a more comfortable, enjoyable place as a way to compete for the best talent. Because if you had a choice between a sterile, gray office with nothing but artificial light and hard metallic surfaces, or one with lots of windows and sunlight, plants, natural finishes, woods and fabrics, floral patterns in artwork, and vibrant colors, where would you want to work?

Employers are also realizing when they make the workplace more appealing, they are also making their employees more productive when they are healthier and happier. Whether they’ve ever heard the word or not, employers are embracing biophilia because it improves the bottom line.

Good Earth Plant Company's latest moss wall project at the Bardstown Bourbon distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

Good Earth Plant Company’s latest moss wall project at the Bardstown Bourbon distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

Good Earth Plant Company was busier than ever adding natural elements to workplaces and businesses across the United States. We also predicted one of our new products in 2016 would really take off. We turned out to be right on target. Moss walls became one of the hottest trends we’ve ever seen, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Moss walls are extremely versatile. They offer flexibility with shapes and colors, and they can survive in a lot of interior environments where traditional plants don’t always thrive. Some weeks it seemed like we just couldn’t install them fast enough! Our most recent moss walls for the new Jones Lang Lasalle office in San Diego and the just completed moss wall for the new Bardstown Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky are good examples of the range of possibilities and applications.

Workplace design experts agree the office isn’t just a place we work anymore. We spend more and more time in our workplace environments, and among the challenges companies face is attracting and keeping the best talent, and ensuring their wellbeing and comfort in their physical workspace.

We were especially happy to see this interest demonstrated by some of the larger architectural firms such as Gensler, HOK, and Carrier Johnson locally. They’ve reached out to Good Earth Plant Company and discussed ways to collaborate with us. We recently worked with a major technology company who opened a brand new office in San Diego and helped it maximize plants and nature in its indoor spaces. Sorry, can’t say yet who they are but I bet if you searched you’d know the name.

Jim Mumford of Good Earth Plant Company gives a presentation at the 2016 Tropical Plants Industry Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Jim Mumford of Good Earth Plant Company gives a presentation at the 2016 Tropical Plants Industry Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

It’s also important to us to spread the work to those only now discovering all the positive aspects of biophilic desire. We were on the road a lot at professional conferences such as Cultivate 16, Cities Alive, and the American Society of Landscape Architects, and we made presentations all over the country. It’s especially nice when the industry comes to San Diego and invites me to speak, like the International Facilities Managers Association (IFMA) did in October. And I’d never miss our own San Diego Green Building Conference and Expo, where I spoke along with Barbara Fanning on The WELL Building Standard and the Economic Case for Biophilic Design. (Want me to talk with your group in 2017? Get in touch).

I admit I was a little nervous about my biggest assignment. I introduced Patrick Blanc, the French architect considered the father of living walls, at Cultivate 16 where he gave a presentation. Thankfully it all went well and I enjoyed talking with Patrick and sharing the stage with him for a few minutes.

My one big fail for 2016? My awesome artwork for “Art Alive!” got destroyed in my truck. I hadn’t done a good job securing the ladder in my truck. It fell on the artwork and wiped it out. Oh well, I attended the gala anyway. I’ll be back in 2017.

It’s nice to be right, but it’s even better to watch all the principles we believe in including biophilia, biometric design, wellness and wellbeing, inclusive design and incorporating lights, plants and nature becoming accepted standards in workplace design trends for 2016 and beyond. No one thinks it’s OK to warehouse people in awful gray workplaces anymore. We’re not saying it doesn’t happen, but no one is proud of it or does it on purpose.

So what’s ahead for 2017? We’re working on our Top Ten Trends for 2017, and we’ll share them with you next week in our last blog post of 2016.