Ever wonder who sets up the beautiful tree displays in shopping malls during Christmas time or the plants throughout different businesses? Capital Interiorscapes have been providing their expert knowledge in design and horitculture services for over 20 years now. Greg and Karen McGowan offer their knowledge with an emphasis on biophilic design (keep reading to learn what this is) to help stimulate human performance in their workplace. When I caught up with one of the owners, Karen McGowan, I was able to ask her some questions about her love for horticulture.
Let’s start off with a simple question!
- If you could describe your business in one word what would it be?
- What are some benefits of having plants in a workplace?
Buildings with live interior plants have been documented to experience:
-Fewer pollutants and molds in the indoor air
-Workers take fewer sick days
-Increased productivity and creativity
-Shoppers stay longer and spend more
- What is a plant you want to own but is too rare to get it?A plant that I would love to see is a Titan Arum. It’s very rare in the wild but Cornell University has one that bloomed last March for 2 days. The flower is spectacular at 3′ tall and a beautiful corrugated texture and maroon color. However I would not want to own it as it smells like rotten meat, seeing it would be good enough!
- What was the most memorable event you set up for?
We had a corporate client who hosted large Holiday parties that we decorated for. One year Barry Manilow was the entertainer. His stage manager arrived about 4 hours before the party started and asked us to provide decorations for the stage, 2 large, decorated Christmas trees, garland the length of the stage and a 6′ wreath. I raced back to the shop and pulled the trees, decor and garland but I did not have a wreath that size and you can’t just go to the store and buy something like that. By the time I got back to the event the orchestra was on stage warming up and here we are swinging a 15′ ladder over their heads to hang the garland. Between that and the heat of the lights we were sweating bullets! We got it all done before the party started and the manager liked the garland so much he ordered several cases to be shipped to back California!
- When did you start being interested in plants in work environments?
Back in the ’80s I took a design position with a company that also did InteriorScapes, which was my introduction to the field. My specialty became corporate event and holiday and floral design. It’s also where I met my husband!
- Where do you hope your business is in 5 years?
My goal is to double our current revenue.
- How many plants are in your office?
That changes every time we receive a shipment. Right now I have 4 and my assistant, Gail, has 15. She just can’t get enough!
- What is your favorite plant you own?
I collect unusual Begonia’s. My favorite is called “Escargot” which has leaves that grow in an intriguing swirled shape.
- Which holiday is the busiest time for your business?
Christmas is a very big holiday for us. We custom design the decorations for each building, in addition to fabrication, installation, takedown and storage of the products. Companies love not having all of that hassle at the holidays and it puts everyone in a good mood!
- What is Biophilic Design?
“Biophilia” is the innate human attraction to nature, most people simply feel better around plants and flowers. Science is now examining that innate need and using the research to inform how we should be designing our buildings to improve the human experience. Not only do plants improve the indoor air quality but work performance improves as does overall job satisfaction. Sustainable buildings need to address sustaining the people inside them as well as the environmental issues. Plants provide this factor in an attractive and low cost way. We are “putting the green in green buildings!”