Tag Archive for Living Walls


10 Hanover Square gets a complete rooftop renovation.

rooftop space nycThe owners of this high-end residential rental building in the Financial District became interested in designing a communal rooftop space and after a recommendation from their interior design firm BG International, contacted kokobo and the story begins! Upon the first site visit it became clear to the kokobo design team the improvements this rooftop space required in order to make a warm and friendly area to host the residents and their guests.

The Design Elements

Large, centrally-located electrical rooms and air conditioning units would need to be shielded from view due to their extremely imposing nature in a space walled in with prominent parapet walls. A unique and colorful steel scaffold-like structure circumnavigates the roof which supports the mobile window washing mechanism. kokobo felt the steel structure was out of the way enough and interesting in style that it should be incorporated and even highlighted in the new design. Finally, the entrance to the rooftop would need to be brightened and an imposing air conditioning vent structure overhead hidden from view. With these specific and design parameters kokobo set to work!

rooftop space nyc

Design Process

We chose to conceal and beautify the electrical rooms and air conditioning units with 12′ high IPE ‘Slot Walls’ which are essentially wall structures that enclose continuous slots of living wall panels in a decorative, geometric pattern and utilize minimal footprint space. This created a warm and attractive border enclosing the outdoor rooms and serve to stop the eye from taking in the rooftop utilities. The prominent parapet walls and red steel structure act as divisions of outdoor rooms and spaces with varying uses. The first space you come upon from the entrance is a living room with multiple sofas and comfy lounge chairs surrounding a custom coffee table with built in lighting for nighttime ambiance. Next to the living room is the sunning room filled with chaise lounges for individuals wishing to soak in the rays on those wonderfully sunny NYC days. In the corner of the communal roof top is the second living room with similar outfitting to the first, but on a much larger scale. The fourth space as you turn the corner of the rooftop is the dining area, set with multiple table and chair configurations for rooftop dining of any size or occasion. Finally we come to the last outdoor room next to the dining which is the outdoor kitchen. The large island includes 2 grills, 2 refrigerators, an ice maker, and ample storage space for multiple families or groups to serve and enjoy.

rooftop designers nyc

The outdoor rooms are further denoted by overhead trellis and pergola structures in IPE wood which warms the look of the parapet wall and provides an airy ceiling to allow sunlight to penetrate the rooms. A custom IPE and river rock soffit was designed to hide the prominent flashing along the base of the parapet wall and also conceals the electrical and irrigation supply running around the perimeter of the rooftop. The imposing air conditioning vent at the entrance is hidden by an IPE ceiling which stops the eye from seeing the vent but also provides enough air flow in and around the openings.

The darkness of the entrance has been brightened by adding light box planters with rich green ferns along the entrance walls that illuminate your view as soon as you step foot outside. A continuous band of light at the base of the surrounding IPE walls light the ground plane for easy navigation. Freestanding planters are sprinkled throughout the roof space to provide further softening of surrounding architecture and variety of foliage to be enjoyed. Stepping onto the communal rooftop has changed from loud and imposing utility structures, parapet walls, and steel structures to what is now warm and cozy nooks for tenants to enjoy a variety of sitting areas and amenities for any occasion, whether it’s sunning on a hot summer day or having drinks with friends after work, the space and features are amply provided.

rooftop designers nyc

Happy New Year and wishing you the absolute best for a wonderful 2014, from all of us at kokobo greenscapes!


How We Built a Greenwall at NBC “30 Rock” in 3 Days!

Greenwall at NBC 30 RockOne of the most rewarding projects that kokobo greenscapes took on was the installation of a vertical garden, or a greenwall, inside the commissary at 30 Rockefeller Plaza AKA 30 Rock in late 2012.

What made this installation even more exciting was the timing of it all, because NBC was running its Presidential Election coverage right after the completion of our project!

So many challenges that we could not have prepared for came up during our work at 30 Rock but the Kokobo team still managed to pull it off, in 3 days! Here’s how:

Greenwall at NBC 30 Rock

What are greenwalls?

Greenwalls or vertical gardens are essentially living walls of plants that are grown in vertical fashion. Because of this unique layout, they have grown in popularity in urban areas, where space is limited. From its origination in Europe to its introduction and its recent rise in popularity in America, greenwalls are an art form that continue to impress and delight visitors in anyone’s home, office, restaurants, hotels, and parks.

Installing the green wall

Day 1 – Our Time Gets Cut Short

The most challenging part of the project was the limited time that we had to get the wall installed onsite. We had been speaking with the client for about two months prior to installation and all along we were assured that there would be ample amount of time from when the space was complete to allow us enough time to install and prepare the space well in advance of the upcoming election night viewing party in the commissary. It’s always very important when installing landscape elements that they are installed LAST after all the other trades are complete so that the plants are not harmed by dust and debris and also to provide our team with the appropriate work space to get things done. As the opening date for the commissary was getting closer, we spoke to the client almost daily and they would indicate that the other trades were not finished yet and that it wasn’t quite time. But how would we be able to complete the 5 day install if there were other trades on site and if there wasn’t even 5 days available?

Working with the other Trades

The deadline for the project was quickly approaching so we came to the conclusion that we needed to start hanging the brackets for the wall immediately. When we arrived at the job site, the large work area that we had planned to use to stage materials and then ultimately plant all of the individual pots was completely cluttered with materials, equipment, and workmen. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, laborers, and audiovisual techs were everywhere so we made a decision that it was not going to be the best place to stage and plant everything…this would have to be done back at our facility in Long Island City, an extra step in an already very complicated install.

Hanging the Metal Brackets

Greenwall at NBC 30 RockWhat had to be done onsite was the hanging of the brackets which all of the greenwall pots would hang onto as well as the irrigation basins. We set up our scaffolding and began to block off an area so that we could work safely and expeditiously. Because the other trades were not complete yet, we had to move and restage all of our equipment and our scaffolding many times during the install. The first step was to start hanging all the metal brackets and this was handled by a three-man team during the middle of the day, as our plan was to work through the late afternoon into the evening as this would allow us more space as trades finish working around 4 o’clock. By the end of the first day we had installed approximately 80% of the metal brackets. What we found was, as we were getting closer to the end of the project, the space that we had to work was so limited that we were getting slower and slower as we got closer and closer to finishing!

Greenwall at NBC 30 RockWhile this is going on, we had another three-man team working to plant out the over 800 pots of plants that had to be hung on the wall. We didn’t want to box the plants up for the transport until the last possible moment so it was imperative that we kept all the plants separate to provide good airflow, appropriate temperature and adequate light until they were ready to be shipped to the city. I was monitoring both teams simultaneously trying to make sure that both were working at the same pace so that when the brackets in city were ready we didn’t waste any time by getting the plants installed!

Day 2: Irrigation system…the lifeblood of the wall gets installed

(after a slight detour through SNL)

Greenwall at NBC 30 Rock Greenwall at NBC 30 Rock

By midmorning of the second day we had installed all the brackets and we began to install the irrigation basins. This process would take approximately seven hours with four men as the irrigation basins had to be attached ever so carefully so that they were completely level and that water would flow appropriately through every single basin so that they could be wicked up by the special planters and into the soil for the plants. About 60% of the way through the irrigation basins we began to connect all of the basins with the irrigation tubing and couplers. It was important to have the entire system connected and tested prior to the installation of any of the plants. Unfortunately, one of the trades that had not completed their work in time was the plumbing contractors who were to be installing a water supply line to the bottom of the greenwall.

Without the supply line it was going to be impossible to test the irrigation system and make sure that it was flowing properly. In response, what we did was run a very long hose from a secondary location from approximately 300 feet away through the halls of NBC and got the water from the Saturday Night Live set! Once we knew that the system was flowing properly we had to watch it drain and make sure that there were no leaks and that there were no spots where anything was clogged. This took approximately three hours and at the end of this stage we knew that the next day we were able to finally install all of the plants.

Day 3: The final push to hang the plants

Before the votes were tallied and the ice rink was painted red/blue!

This portion of the install would prove to be a large challenge as we were up against cold temperatures, an appearance by Rod Stewart at NBC’s TODAY show, and a very, very crowded loading dock with many trades finishing in the area that we were working.

All hands on deck on this day meant a seven-man team, with one driver, and three runners bringing items up from the loading dock, and three people on the wall itself installing plants one at a time. Once all the pots were in place we were been able to run an irrigation cycle with the brand new supply line that was installed by the plumbers earlier that day and it worked perfectly and water was running through the entire system.


Greenwall at NBC 30 Rock

The next phase was to adjust the lighting that would be shining down onto the wall highlighting the design as well as calibrating the irrigation system so that the water flowed for an adequate amount of time to provide all 800 plants with the proper amount of water without any of the basins overflowing. Three days later was election night and at this point trades were still working so it was important that we came back through and wipe every single plant to make it looked its absolute best, as well as removing dust and debris from the plants in the soil so that they would be healthy.


The entire time throughout the installation there were so many comments from all the trades, employees of NBC, and visitors in the space all wanting to know how the system worked, how the plants would grow, how long the process took, who designed it, etc! It was definitely the talk of the entire space! Above all, the greatest satisfaction I received was watching the election night coverage and looking up just to the left of Brian Williams, inside the windows of 30 Rock, and seeing the greenwall!

Spreading Meaning of Sustainability to Key West

What is a green wall?

A green wall is essentially a wall that is blanketed with vegetation. It is often times hung on an exterior or interior wall of a building. Green walls are also known as bio-walls, living walls, or vertical gardens.

To create a green wall, plants are first placed into separate panels and acclimated to growing conditions in their cells. Irrigation pathways are installed into the panels, so plants are given the perfect amount of water. After the plants have grown, they are hung vertically to resemble a colorful bio-mural and thus unveiling the beauty that is a green wall.

Our projects in Key West include green wall constructions, as well as some of the many landscaping services we have to offer. Principal designer Michael Madarash kicked off the KW expansion by giving a seminar to the Key West Garden Club about green walls, which was attended by over 45 individuals and was very well received.


Making Walls Bloom May Be Key To Sustaining The Renaissance Of America’s Best Cities

The stock market may be booming but the continuation of America’s urban renaissance could well depend, surprisingly, on flowers.

Not just blooming gardens in parks and along boulevards but also in year-round planted walls. In other words, living walls or, as the New York Times headlined the phenomena, “Gardens That Grow On Walls” with products from companies like LiveWall, LLC, located not far from Grand Rapids.

This year the first of the 86-million strong Millennials generation turns thirty. And because they will begin seeking greener and more serene space and an escape from urban noise and air pollution, demographers are predicting a reverse flight to the suburbs of up to twenty-five percent of these highly desirable residents. With them would go a big chunk of these cities’ tax bases.

For more than a decade, America’s best cities have ridden a population boom of young people fueled by hip coffee shops, ubiquitous WiFi, abundant office space, good public transportation, performance centers and a new generation of lofts and other cool living spaces.

The aggregation of all of these factors lured young entrepreneurs into the cities followed by the highly educated and technically astute employees who support them. Owning a car proved unnecessary if you live in downtown Denver, Dallas, Austin, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Boston or Washington, D.C. This savings permits these knowledge workers instead to purchase smart phones, tablets, sophisticated applications and other must-have tools of the tech-savvy.

No surprise that instead of forsaking the intellectual hot houses found in today’s best cities and submitting to time-wasting suburban commutes, some Millennials are addressing their concerns for stress reduction, better breathing, and greener lifestyles by erecting a vertical garden, both inside and outside of their urban residences and offices. In other words, they are making their beloved cities bloom.

“LiveWall makes a vertical garden that may be securely attached to both indoor and outdoor walls,” explains David S. MacKenzie, CEO of the 115-acre greenhouse empire that distributes everything one needs for a thriving, year-round living wall through a national dealer network. LiveWall is a sister company to LiveRoof, LLC, from which MacKenzie helped drive the green roof revolution across the US in the 21st Century.

MacKenzie studied an array of rush-to-market products and the rows of dead flower boxes that some competitors produced. Instead, LiveWall has made today’s best living wall designs easy-to-install, low maintenance, sustainable and durable. MacKenzie’s green wall designs even perform carefully metered self-watering, enabling their owners to travel without fear that their plants will die. A planted wall’s contributions to heating and cooling energy reduction, better breathing, and mental and physical health are heralded monthly across lifestyle, health and medical publications and by television programs like The Today Show.

“With our living wall, you can mix ornamentals for color and patterns and delightful aromas, but you can also grow herbs so that anyone who cooks can boast of a year-round gourmet kitchen,” MacKenzie says, “enabling downtown restaurants and loft dwellers alike to serve savory dishes at every meal.

“It’s the perfect answer for those people who love living and working downtown and don’t want to spend 15 hours a week commuting in a car. One look and people are intrigued,” MacKenzie reports. “What persuades them are LiveWall’s contributions to thermal insulation, noise and stress reduction, and the sheer natural beauty it is possible to create even in a few hundred feet of living space.

“People in technology talk constantly about tech transfer,” MacKenzie observes. “LiveWall is making it possible for these same people to engage in ‘green transfer,’ in other words, bringing the health-giving qualities of natural plants right into their urban homes and offices.

“Of course the low cost of installation and maintenance are compelling, too,” MacKenzie adds.

“And who wouldn’t forgo an expensive and exhausting commute with its plume of carbon emissions for that?” he asks.


Living walls have fast become an art form for many people.

living wallA living wall, also referred to as a green wall or vertical garden is usually part of a building and consists of some sort of vegetation. These types of gardens are sometimes referred to as urban gardens, because they are well-suited for an urban environment where space on the ground is very limited but vertical space is plentiful. These vertical gardens can be quite spectacular in appearance, and they even work to filter clean air into the building in which they are growing upon.

Vertical gardens can be grown on just about any type of wall, with or without the use of soil, and they can be placed both on outdoor and indoor walls. These amazing sky farms are able to literally bring life to an old rundown building in the middle of the city and they are becoming increasingly popular inside office buildings, homes, and retail stores because of their outstanding beauty and their natural air purification properties.

Living walls have fast become an art form for many people, and one of the pioneering vertical garden artists is Patrick Blanc. He observed how plants were able to grow vertically without the need for soil in the wild, and soon developed a way to create artistic looking vegetation walls that were both lightweight and needed little maintenance. Since these living walls only weighed approximately 30 kg or less per square-meter, he noticed that just about any type of wall would be able to support the weight of a vertical garden.


Greening Built Environments


Built environments bring with them many detrimental consequences including high energy costs for heating and cooling, hard surfaces that contribute to higher city temperatures, stormwater runoff, degraded air quality and noise. However, emerging technology is turning many buildings green with significant human and environmental benefits.

During the past few years there has been a trend towards greening built environments, transforming office spaces and walls into living vegetation. Referred to as greenwalls, living walls, biowalls and vertical gardens, they are either free-standing or part of a building, that is partially or completely covered with vegetation. Many greenwalls use innovative hydroponics technology. These building adaptations are designed to mimic the growing conditions found where greenwalls occur in nature.

The concept of greenwalls dates back to 600 BC with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. And now they are making a comeback to green city buildings. Interior and exterior greenwalls can now be found in airports, shopping centres, office buildings and homes around the world, including New York, Montreal, Chicago, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Australia.

From a practical point of view, greenwalls reduce building temperatures, and help alleviate ‘sick building syndrome’ (SBS), which is related to poor indoor air quality. However, the immediate benefit of a greenwall is its incredible beauty, bringing the outside inside for building occupants. Greenwalls are also said to improve property values!

Internationally, the trend towards ‘greening’ buildings is gaining momentum. Green roofs not only radically reduce stormwater runoff and therefore the cost of disposal, they also provide greater insulation for a building, prolong the life of the roof membrane and reduce noise penetration.

They are also great to look at and use, increasing the worth of the real estate they are on and viewed by.

KOKOBO GREENSCAPES uses award-winning design techniques, passion and expertise in horticulture in residential and commercial projects to bring greenwalls to a new level of integration within the built environment.

(original source)