Today, many desk-bound workers express an interest in “bringing the outdoors in.” From vertical gardens to stackable planters, small alterations can make a mundane office feel like a much-needed oasis. As one of the biggest businesses in the world, it is no surprise that Amazon has taken this indoor/outdoor idea to a whole new level with “The Spheres,” a trio of greenhouse workspaces located outside of its Seattle headquarters.
Designed by American architecture firm NBBJ, The Spheres transforms the concept of the office. Three steel and glass buildings compose the clustered complex, which can accommodate 800 workers. Inside, over 40,000 plants from over 300 species and 50 countries fill the space. Astoundingly, this abundant biodiversity is just the beginning: a four-story living wall takes the place of boring beige paint, treehouses serve as meeting rooms, and a river replaces run-of-the-mill carpeting.
Like other recent urban greenhouses, the globe-shaped structures also provide a green space to the public that doubles as a living, breathing learning experience. “These unique buildings are so much more than a beautiful, creative space for Amazon employees,” Governor Jay Inslee remarked. “They will help conserve a number of rare plant species from around the world and provide countless educational opportunities for local students – and that's something Washington can take pride in.”
Amazon announced the orbs' opening on its blog, celebrating the fruition of an idea that first blossomed in 2011. If you'd like to see the stunning site for yourself, you can book a visit to Understory, an immersive exhibit at the buildings' base.