LiveWall and the B.O.B. Commit to Downtown Greening
'Back to Eden" voted Top 25 in ArtPrize 2013 Will Stay Up at Least Another Year
Ranking in the top 25 during the 2013 ArtPrize competition, "Back to Eden" is a 1400 square foot abstract painting—with plants as the "paint" (mostly annual plants). "Back to Eden" resonated with ArtPrize attendees because of its design, nighttime effect, and environmental statement. It served as a popular backdrop for photography and a stimulus to conversations about environmental stewardship, urban greening, and the importance of plants and nature in our lives.
Originally the plan, for after ArtPrize, was to "take it down," but neither B.O.B. owner, Gregory Gilmore, nor LiveWall, LLC owner David MacKenzie was ready to do that; MacKenzie and Gilmore met shortly after ArtPrize and discussed the exhibit, and while Gilmore states that "he would love to own it," he has plans to develop the north side of the B.O.B.'s property in the near future. Gilmore stated that a firm date has not been set for the new development, but plans are moving ahead, and unfortunately the new development will occupy the space where `Back to Eden" currently resides. Instead he offered the use of the space to MacKenzie for joint promotions, to use as an outdoor showroom, and for another ArtPrize entry in 2014.
Mackenzie says, "This is a good arrangement for all concerned; I don't have to worry about relocating the wall right now. The B.O.B. is a central and highly visible location to showcase our LiveWall system and a broad array of plants." MacKenzie has already replanted the wall with some 2000+ winter hardy-perennials, and next year plans to replace some of them with colorful annuals, as well as herbs and vegetables for use in the B.O.B.'s various kitchens.
The B.O.B.'s LiveWall installation is located on the north side of the building and is visible and accessible for viewing by the public almost anytime. Neighbors in surrounding offices and condominiums will enjoy watching the seasonal changes including winter colors, springtime foliage, and summertime flowers. It is interesting to note that the LiveWall surrounds the mechanical units and dumpsters of the B.O.B, and these are now surrounded on three sides with colorful plants—it's a nice way to disguise these elements.
"We know that the public will benefit," say both Gilmore and MacKenzie—there will be beauty, oxygenation of the air, cooling of the surrounding environment, those sorts of things, and it will be interesting to see how the LiveWall impacts urban wildlife. MacKenzie expects the LiveWall to act as an urban oasis attracting mourning doves, hummingbirds, butterflies, and honeybees.
The B.O.B.'s green wall will be the third publically visible LiveWall system in Grand Rapids. Currently there are 800 square feet of LiveWall on the south and west walls of Grand Rapids' new Downtown Market, and just recently John Ball Zoo installed a LiveWall on the rooftop of the chimpanzee house.
The LiveWall is one of the features of the Downtown Market which contributes to its environmental statement, energy savings, and its ability to achieve Green Building Council's LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Certified LEED buildings cost less to operate and are a physical demonstration of the values of the organizations that own and occupy them.
Based in Spring Lake, Michigan, LiveWall®, LLC (www.livewall.com) is the top horticultural science company in the planted wall industry. Exceptional in design and function, the LiveWall System is developed and manufactured in West Michigan and offers the most effective horticultural solution for vegetated walls.
Note to Editors on Project Photos: Flickr link for photos
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