Monday, October 17, 2016

Patrick Blanc's Vertical Garden is Coming to Dubai at Al Futaim Robinsons

It's been few days I got opportunity to talk to world renowned botanist Patrick Blanc, but when you meet a legend you don't forget that meeting!

Al Futtaim is bringing Singapore's International Departmental Store, Robinsons to Dubai Festival City, which is scheduled to open towards end of March in 2017. Robinsons is popular for novelty and style. While we are all waiting to see amazing products in the store, I am sure biggest attraction is going to be the Vertical Gardens inside and outside the store! Not just because first time in UAE a store will flaunt a green living wall but these vertical gardens are designed by master who created them, Patrick Blanc! To Know more go to his website.

Robinsons Plant Bags

Aiming to Inspire Dubai’s future generations of Eco enthusiasts, Patrick Blanc engaged young minds from the Deira International School and the German International School of Dubai in an interactive session to discuss the benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle. The latter school was selected based on the recent establishment of the institution’s sustainability committee, with a focus on educating students about environmental protection and green living.
Patrick Talking to Students
The young guests were instructed on proper planting techniques and encouraged to cultivate their green-thumb by being temporary care givers to each of their plants until the store’s opening in March 2017. Upon launch, Robinsons will welcome these plants and these mini botanists again to add their nurtured greens to live as part of the store’s Eco environment.

This passionate botanist can talk for hours about plants and getting to know the details of his creation from the man himself is definitely a great experience for any Eco-conscious plant lover! This award winner botanist has worked with many renowned architects and created more 250 vertical gardens across the globe!

Patrick's Candid Photo
You could imagine how rejoicing it was when this green man told me he reuses the felt for vertical gardens and he has kept samples of felts since 2-3 decades to see effect of time on them! Thanks to great minds like him, we can enjoy urban gardens in developed cities! It was fascinating to hear him talk about why there has to be little overflow of water on vertical gardens to aid even growth of plants and how he selects diffident species not just based on aesthetics but depending on all other parameters. When I inquired if his outdoor vertical gardens can withstand sand storms in region, he thought for a second and said, the sand storm won't harm but rather help green walls!

It was interesting to know that vertical gardens are difficult to maintain in colder climate than other extreme like our region. Freezing of plants make it more difficult to main ten the system in cold climate like New York.

These water efficient vertical walls reuse the overflow water. During the discussion this plant guru hurriedly confirmed with project architect if the run off water from vertical garden will be used for irrigation of other landscape! Like a very enthusiastic school girl, I couldn't stop asking question to this living encyclopedia and he was more than happy to answer all my queries! I have read somewhere that great people are humble, but this time I was experiencing that!
Patrick Blanc on KAFD Conference Hall, Riyadh
When I asked would you like to use local species (species from desert and mangroves) in your vertical garden his answer was very enlightening! He mentioned world wide it is difficult to find local species, people don't have proper nurseries of local species where you can go and pick up sample and study it! Everywhere you go, they are keeping species from somewhere else in nurseries but not the local species. To my surprise he has great knowledge about desert species and he said he would love to make a vertical garden with those species. Rather he has already designed a vertical garden in Saudi Arabia with local species! Through this project he has proved how we can incorporate local species in urban landscaping without compromising aesthetics, which will help us save water and enhance local habitat. These are very important elements in sustainable development! If you ask me, Patrick's KAFD conference hall project in Riyadh is great example for this region to follow his footsteps for more sustainable landscaping and vertical gardens!

Patrick Blanc, brain of a scientist and heart of an artist is great inspiration for generations to come! I can not thank Robinsons team more who invited me to spend great evening with this legend! I consider myself lucky not just because I could talk to him about his passion but I could know this lovely human being behind the great legend, who can even sing classic Indian movie songs!
Me with Patrick Blanc
We have a good long wait till Robinsons open their doors, but having just glimpse of what awaits inside their doors; I am all excited for March 2017!


Ayu Tanimoto said...

Nice sharing. I will forward this article to my friend who really loves everything about hydroponic and botanical things. Thanks

Amruta Kshemkalyani- Tavkar said...

Thank you Ayu! I hope I can provide some new info to your friend through this article! Would love to know your friend's feedback!