If you’re an architect or interior designer looking to improve a commercial space , you’ve likely run into obtrusive columns or posts. They block site lines, pose troubling configuration issues, and often look downright ugly. Too bad they can’t just be torn down, right? Seeing as how columns provide the support that keeps buildings upright, this probably isn’t a good idea in most cases. That’s where a decorative column cover or a nice faux wood post wrap comes in handy.
Column covers and wraps come in all different shapes and sizes, for both indoor and outdoor decoration. Most obvious are the colonial style or parthenon-esque columns that have graced college and government building foyers for centuries. Less obvious is a simple wood texture, like that which adorns the columns of the JW Terrill lobby crafted by St. Louis Woodworks. Or a basic metal wrap, more durable for outdoors, like the minimalist aluminum columns designed for the AtlantiCare Medical Center by Bamco, Inc. Even less obvious are silk or artificial trees used as decorative column covers.
That probably sounds a little awkward at first -- artificial trees as column covers -- but it makes quite a bit of sense when you think about it, especially for commercial spaces that need more green, or a casino, zoo or waterpark looking to accentuate a theme.
Artificial tree column covers are normally made in two parts and then assembled around columns on site. They can be custom manufactured at any height, and can be made to go all the way up to the ceiling, or even to look as though they grew through the ceiling, with traces of foliage placed artfully near the top for a jack-and-the-beanstalk effect.
Like making lemonade with lemons, architects and designers can turn a bad column or post situation into a inspired design or theme with a little imagination, whether it’s a wood or metal wrap, or a vibrant artificial tree.
If there were such a thing as an exterior or interior landscape centerpiece, a silk flowering tree would be it. Both visually striking and durable, silk flowering trees and branches can turn an ordinary space into a picturesque and enchanting landscape, whether with artificial Hibiscus, artificial Wisteria, artificial Cherry Blossom, or artificial Flowering Dogwood, to name a few.
[more] Two recent projects by Commercial Silk Int’l illustrate just how impacting a silk flowering tree can be. For an Oasis of the Seas cruise ship, a silk Cherry Blossom tree was installed in a spa waiting room to provide a dramatic focal point and a sense of wonderment and relaxation for visitors. Adding to the sense of majesty is an overhead lighting system integrated with black lights, prompting the silk flowering tree to slowly change colors.
For a corporate headquarters with an indoor walking garden, a silk Dogwood tree provided by Commercial Silk Int’l provides a splash of color among the other artificial and live greenery. Employees and visitors have found the garden to be a peaceful respite from their busy days.
Live flowering plants, vines and branches can be very fragile and expensive to maintain, especially for interior spaces where there simply isn’t enough light. Silk flowering trees, on the other hand, require no maintenance, carry no risk of triggering allergies, stay in bloom all year long, and come in a variety of colors, including pink, white, red, and yellow.
Turns out man can make better plants and trees than mother nature, as we’ve discovered in the news this week.
that absorb the same amount of CO2 as 90 eucalyptus trees are being tested in Spain
to help reduce emissions from cars and factories. The trees, which look like lamp posts and can be customized to blend in with surroundings -- similar to silk tree cell phone tower concealment
-- have been installed to date in Valencia, Castellon, and Barcelona.
Meanwhile, an innovative artificial plant
product called TouchPot that was recently brought to market
by Aydan Design can harness kinetic energy when its leaves are moved by wind or by people manually turning them. The TouchPot can re-charge portable electronic devices while providing a LED glow for those college kids who want something other than a lava lamp for their dorm rooms.
We reported on the proliferation of artificial plant technology
in an earlier post, such as for hidden cameras, soil readers, and humidifiers. All in all, it certainly seems -- somewhat ironically -- that artificial trees and plants are helping make the world a greener place.
Health Partners recently utilized health care silk trees to transform a waiting room into a comfortable lounge, using an artificial Red Oak tree as the focal point with silk Prairie Grass accentuating the surrounding area. By incorporating waiting room silk trees, the space was instantly renovated without having to remodel, transforming the once dull, drab setting into a lush dwelling for guests.
[more]Using silk trees in a health care setting provides the feeling of real foliage without the maintenance or hassle of live plants. With the sun cascading across the silk Red Oak tree leaves along with the sky-like baby blue walls and prairie grass, visitors are treated to an outdoor experience indoors, proving that a waiting room can feel clean without feeling lifeless.
See our health care artificial plant case study page for more information about this and other hospital and waiting room projects.
The Cabela’s in Texas revamped its indoor wildlife display by adding museum quality
silk plants. What was once a drab cliff of deer and bear replicas is now a lush landscape of Texas plants and wildlife. In a museum setting especially, the incorporation of silk plants allows for scenic displays to look more natural.
The color and texture of the exhibit plants create depth and accentuate the natural feel of the rock structure. Cabela’s utilized our Aspen silk foliage in addition to fall maple and scotch pine foliage, privet bush and bear grass. By using a variety of different small plants, Commercial Silk In’tl craftsmen were able to recreate what occurs naturally on a mountainside. The smaller, colorful aspens and maples authentically accent the lower levels, while the scotch pines and privet bush adorn the higher levels.
After renovating their skyscraper office lobby, Ameriprise Financial sourced Commercial Silk Int’l for silk trees and grasses to complement its high ceilings, elegant maple hard wood flooring, and exposed steel girders.
Artificial Black Olive trees were implemented to create scale and provide textural and color contrast. Prairie silk grass was installed at the feet of the trees to make for a convincing looking forest floor. Benches were installed for visitors to provide a park like atmosphere and a little hideaway among the hustle and bustle of downtown Minneapolis.
Outdoor artificial plant solutions can make updating your commercial exterior to reflect the seasons a simple and easy process. Outside of being easy to maintain, artificial plants add color year round, eliminate watering, pruning, and fertilizing costs, are great for locations where growing live plants is difficult, and can create interesting and character-adding themes.
This step-by-step instructional video will demonstrate how to create seasonal plant designs by rotating and switching out outdoor artificial plant products from Commercial Silk Int'l.
- Outdoor Artificial Azalea Hanging Plant
- Outdoor Artificial Barberry (Green)
- Outdoor Artificial Ribbon Grass (Fall)
- Outdoor Artificial Cedar Plant
- Grow Pot
- Spray Foam
- Sphagnum moss, mulch or bark chips
- Glue gun or styrofoam adhesive
- Window Box or Outdoor Planter
- Outdoor Artificial Plants
To design an artificial plant interchangeable planter box, each single plant is potted into one grow pot, later to be easily inserted into your window box planter.
- Layer rock several inches thick at the bottom of the grow pot to add ballast.
- Dispense foam. Do not fill to the top of the grow pot. The foam will rise and expand.
- Add moss as a top dressing for the plant; press into the foam. Allow to dry and set up overnight.
- Using a glue gun, quickly spread glue onto the spear of the artificial plant.
- Press the plant into the foam filled grow pot, thus gluing it into the foam. Repeat steps 1-5 for each plant.
- Place all potted plants into the window box planter. The weight of the rock in the grow pots will keep the artificial plants secure in harsh weather conditions.
- Gently shape the artificial plants for a healthy and groomed appearance — all leaves should gracefully reach towards the light.
- When you want a fresh look, easily remove a plant and insert another prepared plant.
With these simple steps you'll have a fully functional artificial plant solution for keeping up your outdoor planters with the seasons.
Outdoor artificial flowers add dimension to your landscape with a variety of plant colors and textures, especially when implemented into window box designs. The following presentation of window planter box designs was created with a variety of outdoor artificial plants.
[more]Plants used include:
- Slide 1:
Artificial Ribbon Grass (Burgundy and Light Green)
- Slide 2:
Artificial Azalea Bush (Beauty)
Artificial Asparagus Fern
- Slide 3:
Artificial Azalea Bush (Pink)
Artificial Ribbon Grass (Burgundy, Light Green)
- Slide 4:
Artificial Boxwood Bush
- Slide 5:
Artificial Cedar Bush
Artificial Holiday Cedar Bush (Red Berries, Red Branches)
- Slide 6:
Artificial Azalea Bush (Pink)
Artificial Ribbon Grass (Burgundy)
- Slide 7:
Artificial Azalea Bush (Cream)
Artificial Barberry Bush (Burgundy)
- Slide 8:
Artificial Ribbon Grass (Green)
Artificial English Ivy
- Slide 9:
Artificial Azalea Bush (Beauty)
Artificial Azalea Bush (Cream)
When you buy silk plants from Commercial Silk Int'l, they will often arrive in a cardboard box. To unbox your silk plant you'll need a simple set of tools, and to properly shape it you'll just need your set of hands and a delicate touch.
- Flathead Screwdriver
- First, use a screwdriver and pliers to remove the staples from the bottom of the box.
- Lift the box cover off.
- Using your screwdriver and pliers, remove all staples from the base of the box.
- Beginning with the foliage leaves on the bottom of the silk plant, shape the leaves by bending them down and out.
- Working upwards to the top of the floor plant, continue to gently shape the silk foliage using both hands.
- Continue shaping the plant until all leaves are gracefully reaching towards the light, just like a healthy living plant.
- Well shaped plants will only need a light annual silk plant cleaning. They appear healthy without the ongoing maintenance that indoor tropical plants require.
Concealing cell phone towers is often a compromise to an unwanted problem. No one wants a cell phone tower in their neighborhood, known as they are for bringing masses of steel to otherwise quaint neighborhoods, reducing home values, dosing people with unhealthy levels of radiation (some say), and inciting gridlock at zoning boards
all over the country. The improvement of cell phone coverage, for whatever reason, does not make up for these drawbacks in most people's eyes.
[more]Concealing cell phone towers with silk plants and trees, however, can make all the ballyhoo seem like nothing but empty sound and fury. Many artificial tree solutions, when done by professional manufacturers, look incredibly authentic and seamlessly blend into the forest environment around them. The most common varieties of cell tower trees include faux Elm (which is very similar to artificial Banyan foliage
manufactured by Commercial Silk Int'l), Pine and Palm trees.
Outside of silk plants and trees, many other creative concealments have been implemented
, including church bell towers, street light poles, lighthouses, and more. At the end of the day, if you can convincingly hide a mobile phone tower, there's not a whole lot left to do but be grateful for better coverage.