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Space Daily Delves Into the Benefits of Living Walls

January 8, 2015
January 8, 2015

Space Daily, a website dedicated to professionals in the aerospace industry has featured a very interesting article focusing on the acoustic benefits of living walls.  This article centers around a study being conducted by the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country in Spain.

The study finds that while traditional building materials are either effective at filtering low frequency sounds or high frequency sounds living walls are effective at filtering both low and high frequency sounds.  Read the complete article on Space Daily.

Fox News 9&10 Raves about LiveWall® Vertical Garden at Grand Rapids Downtown Market

December 22, 2014
December 22, 2014

Traverse City’s Fox News 9&10 visited the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids to review many of the vendors and features of the LEED Gold Certified public market. The team wrapped up their series in front of the Downtown Market’s Festive Holiday Living Wall, which was planted with poinsettias for the season, and couldn’t stop raving about the vertical garden.

Festive Holiday Indoor Living Wall On Display Through December at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market

December 9, 2014
December 9, 2014
poinsettia indoor green wall

Holiday living wall plantings now on display at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market.

The Grand Rapids Downtown Market’s living wall just got a holiday makeover. The lush tropical foliage on the wall for the past few months was transformed in a day into a red and pink wall of poinsettias. It took about 14 man hours to remove the plants, clean the planters, and to plant the new poinsettias.

indoor-green-wall-plants

Before.

indoor-planted-wall-poinsettia

After.

Tomorrow, the Downtown Market is holding a Winter Wonderland event featuring treats, kids crafts and Santa Claus.  We hope to see you there!

EVENT DETAILS
When: Wednesday, December 10 from 4:00pm – 8:00pm
Where: Grand Rapids Downtown Market, 435 Ionia Ave. SW Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Cost: FREE

Living Art Pioneer Dave MacKenzie Takes His Art to the Next Level for ArtPrize 2014

September 19, 2014
September 19, 2014

Last year, artist Dave MacKenzie debuted his unique brand of living art using a 1,400 square foot living wall system containing 2,500 plants at ArtPrize®, the world’s largest publicly voted art contest.  This year, Dave is back with a bigger and more intricate design.  Entitled ‘Breathe,’ the living mural is home to more than 3500 plants and reaches over 20 feet tall at its peak and stretches 150 feet long.

ArtPrize 2014 Web Site PR Post

‘Breathe’ separates itself from MacKenzie’s earlier work by breaking the traditional mold of a rectangular canvas.  The new design is curvilinear, graphic, and interactive.

“The largest graphic includes a windblown pattern of color in which white flowers spell Breathe O2 (oxygen) and symbolize the air.  The green patterns, above and below, represent the forests and fields.  And, the yellow in the upper right hand corner symbolizes the sun, which fuels photosynthesis, which yields oxygen (O2),” says designer Dave MacKenzie.

“This vital process happens within the leaves, and therefore ‘Breathe’ also features leaf-shaped graphics of Michigan native trees, including catalpa, oak, beech and maple,” MacKenzie adds.

Using the LiveWall® system as the canvas, the entry surrounds and buffers the noise and odors of the B.O.B.’s waste dumpsters and air-conditioning equipment.  ‘Breathe’ was inspired by the idea of restoring the built environment to a more natural state.  The living architecture movement is a growing trend in design that aims to restore balance to urban settings by reintroducing vegetation lost during urbanization.

ArtPrize 2014 Website PR Post 2

MacKenzie stretched beyond the use of plants and incorporated lighting elements into the design of his piece as well.  These lights trace the outline of the leaf shapes and the veins that run through the leaves.  MacKenzie explained that these features symbolize the important role that light plays in the photosynthetic process, which creates the air we breathe.

MacKenzie hopes that his piece will inspire others to become passionate about living architecture and green walls.  “It’s essentially an environmental statement showcasing the importance of plants in our world,” MacKenzie said.

‘Breathe’ can be viewed outside of the B.O.B. during ArtPrize, which runs September 24 to October 11, 2014.

Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit Offers Free Rides This Week, Thousands Enjoy Living Wall at Central Station Stop

August 29, 2014
August 29, 2014

This week, Grand Rapid’s New Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit service officially opened, offering free rides to everyone through Sunday, August 31.  At the Central Station stop for the Silver Line, riders enjoy a cooler wait next to the living wall installed last month as part of an effort to replace the landscaping lost when the new bus stop seating and shading were added for the line.

Riders eager to try out the new Silver Line on it's opening day stay cool next to the stop's living wall, which reduces the reflected light and heat for a more comfortable wait.

Riders eager to try out the new Silver Line on it’s opening day stay cool next to the stop’s living wall, which reduces the reflected light and heat for a more comfortable and relaxing wait.

Read more about the Rapid Central Station’s LiveWall brand green wall on our news page.

Read more about the Rapid’s New Silver Line on MLive.com or RideTheRapid.org.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market Expands Green Space With Indoor Living Wall

August 27, 2014
August 27, 2014

Following closely on the heels of the recent LEED Gold certification, the Grand Rapids Downtown Market is becoming even greener.  The Downtown Market added a 202 square-foot indoor living wall this week, installed by local manufacturer LiveWall, LLC.  The new addition adds more than 100 new plants to the second floor atrium across from the teaching kitchen and complements the outdoor living walls and the upstairs greenhouse space.

 

Downtown Market Indoor Living Wall

 

“Like our outdoor green walls, which help cool the building, serve as vertical garden space and restore lost habitat, the indoor LiveWall will benefit our visitors and staff,” said Claire Duthler, Downtown Market’s leasing and special events coordinator.  “The wall provides oxygen and humidification, reduces airborne pollutants and improves our indoor space, environmentally, psychologically and physically.  When people are surrounded by nature, they feel more contented, creative, happy, and healthy.”

LiveWall, LLC is partnering with the Downtown Market, to help broaden their portfolio of design concepts by testing different display plants and planting patterns, and to increase the vertical green space inside the Market Hall.  LiveWall also planned and planted the outdoor vertical walls, as well as the LiveRoof system at the Downtown Market.

 

Downtown Market Indoor Vertical Garden

 

“Over the next few years, we’ll use the wall to educated designers and architects in the pairing of plants in our living wall system,” said Dave MacKenzie, LiveWall, LLC president.  “This vertical garden is unique, as it will showcase an unusually broad array of plant material.  Our initial planting is naturalistic with rich-leaved tropical species, but I anticipate a seasonal display of poinsettias, and some really unique plants and patterns in the future.”

See more on MLive.com.

The Rapid and LiveWall Bring Nature to Riders

July 8, 2014
July 8, 2014

Patrons waiting to catch a ride at Rapid Central Station will now enjoy one of the cities largest outdoor living walls.

The 500 square foot planted wall was completed last week by a joint effort between LiveWall LLC and Summit Landscape Management of Grand Rapids.  The green wall took approximately four days to install and plant with a selection of colorful, cold-hardy perennials (grown in Spring Lake by LiveWall, LLC).

The Rapid is a nationally recognized leader for its sustainability initiatives, including hybrid busses and LEED certified buildings, many of which feature green roofs.  The Rapid’s green roofs help to protect water quality by reducing runoff, and restore lost habitat, and save on cooling costs.

The living wall also helps to cool the building and restore lost habitat, but unlike the green roofs, it is uniquely visible to The Rapid’s customers.  “This planted wall helps connect our urban riders with nature.  We’ve transformed a steel and concrete surface into a public garden, providing a more pleasant and relaxing stop between bus lines,” said Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid.

“We worked with a local contractor and a local supplier who uses western Michigan sources of plants, soil, plastics, and aluminum, ensuring that this investment in public health also benefits the local economy,” said Steve Schipper, the Rapid’s manager of fleet and facilities.

LiveWall president Dave MacKenzie, who also owns LiveRoof, LLC, the company that supplied the living roofs atop The Rapid, is confident that the additional green space will have a positive impact on the city’s residents.

LiveWall-brand-green-wall-at-the-Rapid-bus-central-station

“When it comes to the social and environmental benefits of keeping people connected to nature, the evidence is piling up.  From lasting positive impacts on mental health, to reduced vandalism and crime rates, to cooler and cleaner city air, reintroducing plants lost to development is a very good move for the community.  And, with a living wall, beautiful and functional gardens can thrive where no workable land is available.”

The Rapid’s green wall will be the fourth publicly visible LiveWall System in Grand Rapids.  Currently there are 1400 square feet of vertical garden, mostly edible plants, installed at the B.O.B., the Downtown Market contains an 800 square foot living wall on the south and west walls, and the John Ball Zoo has a green wall on the rooftop of the chimpanzee house.

About The Rapid

The Rapid (www.ridetherapid.org) provided over 12.5 million rides last year, a new record in public transportation trips in the greater Grand Rapids area.

B.O.B. Chefs Plant Food; Downtown Grand Rapids, on Wall

May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014

Remember the “Back to Eden” 2013 ArtPrize entry (which finished in the top 25)?  That wall, or rather LiveWall®, has been transformed into an immense vertical urban farm, where 1000’s of herbs and vegetables are growing for use at the restaurants within the B.O.B. (Big Old Building).

Gilmore Group Chefs help to plant the living wall system at the B.O.B.

Gilmore Group Chefs help to plant the living wall system at the B.O.B.

“During ArtPrize, I used about 1,500 plants, mostly annuals, as I wanted lots of color,” sated Dave MacKenzie, horticulturalist and inventor of the LiveWall system.  “After a few hard frosts last fall, the annuals were replaced with perennials for winter.  Half of those, the ones on the shady side of the building, will remain until ArtPrize this year (MacKenzie is planning another ArtPrize entry).  Those others, on the sunny side, have been removed and replaced with herbs and vegetables.”

“I’m excited about this,” added Greg Gilmore, partner in the B.O.B. “We expect the LiveWall to produce an ounce of herbs per square foot per week (there are about 500 square feet of herbs), and a whole lot of peppers and tomatoes.  We will also have some leafy greens and some carrots, which is pretty amazing.  The face of the wall is about 700 square feet total, and we’re expecting a bumper crop that our chefs will use for making seasonings, dressings, salad and garnishes.  It’s going to be interesting, and it’s possible that we’ll produce more than we can use.  If that’s the case, we have some charitable organizations in mind for sharing of any extra produce.

LiveWall Herbs

The B.O.B.’s chefs are excited as well.  And, they were happy to help with the planting.  Head chef Jared Miller is no stranger to gardening, and has been exposed to it at some of the Gilmore Collections’ other restaurants.  “But, this is the first time we’re growing produce on a wall, and the first time we’re doing it in an urban setting.  We use a lot of herbs, a whole lot of peppers and tomatoes, and we always have to watch our budget and look after flavor and freshness.  This wall planting takes into account all of that, and at the same time adds greenery and artistry to the facility and to downtown. We’re all very excited about this.”

The B.O.B. will begin using the herbs right away, and the peppers and tomatoes and some of the other vegetable items will come later in the growing season.  The LiveWall is located on the north side of the B.O.B., and is easily accessible.  To learn more visit www.thegilmorecollection.com.  To see video of the planting check out ABC affiliate WZZMs coverage of the event.

LiveWall, LLC and the B.O.B. Plan North America’s Largest Wall-to-Table Initiative

April 15, 2014
April 15, 2014

Remember the Top 25 “Back to Eden” ArtPrize entry?  The 1400 square foot living wall, or rather LiveWall®, is currently filled with hardy perennials, and, despite one of the harshest winters in local memory, all of the plants have survived.  But, come May, only half of them will remain; the other half will be swapped for some 1500+ herb and vegetable plants will be returned for reuse to Hortech, Inc. the nursery that grew them and parent company of LiveWall, LLC.

ArtPrize LiveWall

“As far as I know, this will be the largest ‘food wall’ in North America, and I am ecstatic about this initiative,” said Dave MacKenzie, inventor of the LiveWall system and ArtPrize artist.  The chefs at the various restaurants within the B.O.B. will have access to fresh, organically grown plants that range from peppers and tomatoes to an array of leafy greens and herbs.

“Using the B.O.B.’s vertical garden as a food wall fits with our 30 year effort to source locally (from West Michigan farms) and our current practice of growing on-site at many of our restaurants,” says B.O.B. owner Greg Gilmore.  “In this case, we’re taking locally grown freshness to the next level – to an urban setting.  This is a way to optimize our space, control our budget, and to equip our chefs with the very best in flavor and nutritional value.  Our chefs are like artists; artists that use food as their medium, and they take tremendous pride in their work.  This is a way to support and empower them so they can d their very best work.”

LiveWallReadyForEdibles

Head Chef Jered Miller concurs, “When Greg presented me with the idea of growing food on site, I didn’t have to think twice.  Herbs and certain vegetables make up a significant part of our budget, and we can save some money, but even more valuable is the freshness.  There is nothing better than freshly harvested flavor, and to be able to harvest and use the product within minutes…well, I don’t know how you can top that.  We will be growing a broad variety of herbs, some leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, and even a few ‘surprise’ items that I envision using in all sorts of dishes and dressings, and perhaps even a few special menu items like a ‘LiveWall salad’ composed of fresh herbs and greens.  It’s exciting, and has my creative juices flowing.”

The two, Gilmore and MacKenzie, have also collaborated on an indoor LiveWall system that will grow hops, Located in the atrium leading from the second to third floor, near Dr. Grins Comedy Club, they acknowledge that growing this type of crop in an indoor green wall is experimental.  And, even if it doesn’t produce a bumper crop of hops for making beer in the onsite microbrewery, it will add to the decor, create some green space, and give off oxygen.

Walls of Greenery Greet Visitors Escaping Cold at Great Lakes Area Home Shows

March 7, 2014
March 7, 2014

Grand Rapids, Mich., Lansing, Mich., Kalamazoo, Mich., and Chicago, Ill. – Visitors to several garden shows in the Great Lakes Region will escape the cold to walls of lush green plants.  The vertical wall displays, courtesy of LiveWall, LLC of Spring Lake, Mich., are currently featured at the following home shows:

Frame Yourself with Plants

Green wall displays give home show visitors opportunity to surround themselves with green in an escape from the frigid outdoors.

Grand Rapids Home and Garden Show – Now open until March 9 at Devos Place,
admission Adult – $10 | Child (6-14) – $4. | 5 & Under – Free.

Kalamazoo Home Expo and Garden Show – Now open until March 8 at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center,
admission $10 | 12 & Under– Free.

Lansing Home and Garden Show – March 13-16, at the MSU Pavilion,
admission Adult – $9 | Children (6-14) – $4 | 5 & Under – Free

Chicago Flower & Garden Show – March 15-23 at Navy Pier,
admission Adult – $15-$19 | Children (4-12) – $5 | 3 & Under – Free

Several of the vertical gardens will feature a picture frame cut out for photo ops.  Visitors that share their photos on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #livewall will be featured in a video montage published by LiveWall, LLC in late March.

The LiveWall System was used in a 2013 ArtPrize entry voted by the public into the Top 25 of the world’s largest art prize, held annually in Grand Rapids, Mich.  The piece, Back to Eden by artist Dave MacKenzie, was a 130’ long x 11’ high living canvas containing over 2500 plants.  MacKenzie will reenter ArtPrize this fall with a new living work of art outside the B.O.B.

Note to Editors on Project Photos: Download High Resolution Photos via DropBox

PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VIDEOGRAPHERS WELCOME.  TO ARRANGE INTERVIEWS AND FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT MIKE HAYNES 616.935.1974.

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