ByHaley Shapley

Jan 29, 2018

It’s not surprising why our article on the best office plants is one of our most popular of all time — research shows that having greenery around the workplace can do everything from reduce stress to clean the air to improve productivity.

Most of us settle on a plant or two, or maybe a hanging garden if we’re really fancy. Amazon is putting all of our office plants to shame with the Spheres, which officially open tomorrow after seven years in the making.

Located at the company’s headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, the Spheres are three glass domes that house a whole lot of plants — more than 40,000 plants from 400 species, to be exact — from all over the world. There’s a focus on “ethnobotanically important” plants from a variety of cultures, which refers to how plants and people interact. The massive project includes living walls up to 60 feet in height, a 49-year-old ficus tree named Rubi, a fernery and a canopy walk.

The intention is for Amazon workers to have a link to nature, even in the midst of an urban environment. “The Spheres are a consequence of a lot of deep thought,” says John Schoettler, VP of corporate real estate and facilities, in the video below. “And we wanted to create something very special, a unique environment for employees to come and collaborate and innovate.”

Even if you’re not an Amazon employee, you can still get inside for a peek. A visitors’ center called Understory will be open seven days a week. While you won’t be able to see the entirety of all three Spheres, you’ll get to learn more about the design of the structures and the interesting stories behind the plants through interactive exhibits.

If you’re not planning to visit anytime soon, let GeekWire show you around:

You can also learn more about the living wall in this video:

Does that spider plant on your desk look a little sad now? Sure, you may not have a cacao plant from Ecuador, staghorn ferns that look like antlers, or the hairy Begonia sizemoreae of Vietnam, but we’re all just doing the best we can to get a little greener.

Feature image: Alfred Hess

By Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of publications, covering everything from sustainability to fitness to travel. Read more of her work here.