ClariantShanghai | 2010
In 2010, Swiss multinational Clariant, approached us to recreate the verdant surroundings of its headquarters in Muttenz, Switzerland, within its China offices and laboratory building. We conceived, and now see this garden as the modern《醉翁亭》(Zuiweng Ting), the ‘Drunk Old/Wise Man Pagoda’. In the Song Dynasty poem this verse it is taken from, the poet, Ouyang Xiu, expresses that all his successes in life, both as a poet and a government official, are thanks to the inspiration he has been getting from the beauty of nature, and particularly to that of his garden on Mount Yangya (瑯琊山) in Chuzhou, Anhui province. He is ceaselessly and yet blissfully contemplating the wonders of nature from his pagoda – drunk with the beauty of the landscape scenery!
This is the first visual experience when one enters the Clariant offices in Shanghai, and can ask themselves, ‘Where am I? Is there really a forest around this building? Or is it a big screen displaying beautiful images?’
The colours are so rich, in fact, you half expect to see exotic birds and butterflies flitting around – it really is that beautiful! says Domus architectural journalist Frances Arnold.
Clariant’s vertical garden is one of our most treasured works. Being the first project for our company, it was conceived, designed, installed, and is to this day personally maintained by Mingzhu Bai and Antoine Nerval, our Founders.
This installation was always destined to be something special, as even Clariant’s General Manager in China, Mr. François Bleger, was so enthusiastic by our initial design sketch that he requested a printed copy to be displayed in his office.
The office building, located in the industrial Shanghai district of Hongqiao, is designed around a central atrium, with each of the four levels of workplaces having a clear view into the vertical garden forest. Thus, office staff and clients alike can similarly look out onto nature and take some time for reflection.
The previous photo was taken few weeks following the installation, and you can see on the next image how they have been growing over the past eight years…
Conversely, plants and trees have the great fortune to get better looking with time… Stay close to them and learn their secrets!
Note: This garden is still maintained by our own teams. Therefore, we guarantee its perfect visual effect and quality. You’re welcome to arrange a visit.