Monocle on Design

Seeds of change

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22 March 2016

Episode 232

30 minutes

We step out and smell the roses with an episode dedicated to that most undesigned of delights: plants. Specifically their role in architecture, urban life and office design. We consider the history of London’s urban greenery and the role of plants in landscape architecture. Plus: what the flora in our offices tell us about the changing nature of employment.

22 March 2016

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Chapter 1

8 minutes


Photo: Arup

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Chapter 1

London’s Garden Bridge

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Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge development – a €220m tree-lined crossing over the Thames, mooted for completion by 2018 – has grabbed headlines for reasons good and bad. Sam Jacob, principal of an eponymous architecture practice and professor of architecture at the University of Illinois, tells us how the bridge fits into the bigger story of London’s urban greenery, from its Georgian beginnings to the present day.

8 minutes

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Chapter 2

7 minutes


Photo: Iwan Baan

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Chapter 2

Diana Balmori

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Landscape architect and urbanist extraordinaire Diana Balmori has spent decades expounding the virtues of including nature within the built environment, as well as urban farming and the potential productivity of our under-utilized rooftops. She joins us from New York to discuss her work.

7 minutes

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Chapter 3

6 minutes

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Chapter 3

Living workplaces

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Architect David Marquardt, principle of Zürich-based architecture and interior design office Mach, tells us how the growing use of plants in the workplace may signal a changing relationship with work itself.

6 minutes

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Chapter 4

4 minutes


Photo: Courtesy of The Garden Edit

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Chapter 4

Tools of the trade

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We turn our attention to a few garden-inspired design objects. From Floridian planters to an Austrian watering can and a set of winsome reclaimed copper forks and trowels, we unearth a few essential purchases for green-fingered listeners. Special thanks to The Garden Edit for the samples.

4 minutes

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