Nature Takes Over the Office in Downtown Denver

tres birds outdoor office denver colorado photo

Photo: Tres Birds Workshop

In this wired era, it's easy to let the office creep into every part of life, even time spent in nature, by checking email from the beach or taking a work call while out on the trail. But what if the tables were turned, and it was nature that was creeping into the office instead? It might look something like the playful, slightly surreal installation that eco-friendly architects Tres Birds Workshop created recently in downtown Denver.Passersby strolling through the 16th Street Mall area of Denver's business district were invited to interact with the five-part installation -- an executive office, a conference room, a break room, a cubicle space, and a filing cabinet, all situated outdoors and all overgrown with live vegetation. Grasses and vines grew over chairs, out of copy machines, and along desktops. Sponsored by the eco-footwear maker KEEN and built with the help of local green roofs company, the "Natural Systems Domination" installation had a sustainable method as well as message:

tres birds outdoor office denver colorado photo

Photo: Tres Birds Workshop
Using 100% live vegetation, the Tres Birds Workshop team spent much of their preparation time hand-sewing sedum and ground-cover quilts to drape over large furniture pieces for creating the overgrowth effect. All non-living props were obtained from secondhand stores, including an old Canon copier, water cooler, cubicle walls, golf set, computers, kitschy knick-knacks, coffee mugs, and more.

Once the elaborate installation was complete, the sedum and vegetation were recycled into the community ... and the office props were re-donated to secondhand stores.

The Boulder-based firm has previously designed sound-mitigating office dividers from recycled cork and created stores for the snowboard-maker Burton that feature reclaimed materials, lots of natural light, and low energy usage. According to the firm's Facebook page, its designers are currently hard at work on a large-scale vegetative screen for a downtown Denver office that utilizes reclaimed railroad tracks.

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