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Raised Flooring Gets a Biophilic Boost

June 16, 2021

The effect of plants on occupants in both commercial and residential interiors has been scientifically studied repeatedly. The conclusion is always the same—greenery is good.

From walls to parking lots to columns, plants are finding their way inside hospitals, workplaces, hotels and more through a variety of creative means. Customized green areas can be made just about anywhere, including raised commercial flooring, as seen in Padua Italy’s Net Center complex. The multiuse building includes a bright and airy ground floor, featuring scattered green areas that, upon first glance, give the appearance of plants growing through the traditional in-ground process one finds outside.

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Easy to insert, Floora is a flexible system of floor plants, interchangeable with raised floor panels, which allows designers to customize green areas in indoor spaces. Image courtesy of Nesite

Italy-based raised flooring manufacture Nesite has invented this fresh approach of installing indoor greenery with its product, Floora. As its name suggests, Floora is a system consisting of hydroponic plants that can be inserted in place of any raised floor panel, allowing designers to vary its location as they wish.

The simplicity of its composition makes it possible to create interior green islands or green paths in just a few hours, and designers can choose from plants of various types and heights to be used as decorative or dividing elements.

[Related: Salesforce Tower’s Top Two Floors Are Home to 24 Award-Winning Living Columns]

“The peculiarity of the system is its flexibility and agility in defining new layouts,” said Simone Piva, Floora’s product manager. “Once installed, living walls are immovable, or you can move them with various difficulties. The raised floor, on the contrary, matches architecture needs, and it's not an obstacle when a space changes its design. You can create separations between environments, green paths and privacy corners in complete autonomy.”

When it came to the Net Center, well-known for its iconic 20-floor red tower, Piva said he knew the design team’s initial desire was to integrate decorative green areas in the project “to warm the environment, make it more welcoming and contribute to the psycho-physical well-being of people.”

Thus, when Floora was launched on the market, it was included in the building to replace some of the pre-existing panels and create scattered green areas along all the galleries on the ground floor. Amongst the nearly 280,000 square feet of Nesite raised flooring options that were used—including linoleum, porcelain and slate stone—about 10,760 square feet of Floora was installed.

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Floora uses a hydroponics system, a plantation technique that has multiple benefits in terms of maintenance and sustainability. Image courtesy of Nesite

Along with needing little care thanks to its hydroponic system, a plantation technique that has multiple benefits in terms of maintenance and sustainability, Piva noted that Floora accommodates the passage of electric cables and data that can be constantly inspected without the need for interventions, a big-plus for commercial interiors.

“To develop this product, we involved garden designers, flower designers and other professionals with whom we defined a composite of plants based on their characteristics and, above all, on the benefits they can bring to the environment,” Piva said. “Some plants are perfect to absorb CO2, others formaldehyde, etc. We offer these ‘packages’ in the catalog that is already available on the site, but we are obviously available to define customized solutions, perhaps with essences linked to the local territory of the project. We also intend to link Floora more to technology and expect the launch of a dedicated app shortly.”

With the flexibility of raised flooring combined with the beauty of nature, it’s easy to see why Floora is fitting in when it comes to creating a small oasis indoors.

Read next: The Future of Textiles is Biobased

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About the author
Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today.