The last stop on our urban landscape tour in Seattle was at the new Amazon Spheres, an installation of 3 glass domes that are filled with tropical plants including orchids, palms, bromeliads and some plants so rare they no longer exist in the wild. The domes also include streams, waterfalls, aquatic habitats, and work spaces for over-stressed Amazon employees. The Spheres are not open to the public at this time - but our close friend Lisa Black arranged a tour for us, which gave us a rare look inside this stunning new workspace.
The Spheres incorporate living walls, foliage, pathways, bridges, a "birds nest", and the coolest conference room you've probably ever seen. The oxygen-rich atmosphere you'd expect to find in a tropical jungle can only do good things for the psyche. I was particularly impressed with the living walls: the methods they use to keep the plants alive (misters that eject a cloud of moisture) is one sure way to keep things wet - without washing away the soil and growing medium (for epiphytes - aka "air plants" such as orchids and tilandias). This is forward thinking I expect from a company like Amazon, which is changing the way we do things - including work. Props to everybody involved in this project!
One final note: while the Spheres are currently not open to the public, eventually there will be limited access - another great move. Everybody needs to see what results can be achieved through this kind of progressive thinking.