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Orchard Brae House

Live plants and the enhancement of exterior green space are helping boost staff wellbeing following a recent rebrand and refurbishment at Orchard Brae House.

Colourful pots

When the team at Eden Property Asset Management embarked on a rebranding exercise, wellbeing and bringing colour to the predominantly white interior of the Edinburgh office space were priorities.

Taking inspiration form the building’s name an orchard fruit theme was devised and a tree logo designed incorporating seven colours emulating a variety of fruits. Each vibrant shade is now reflected on one of the buildings seven floors.

Working with Cowiesburn Commercial Property Managers it was over to GP Plantscape to bring some life to the office environment.

Lush aglaonema, installed in bright planters coordinating with the lift lobbies, grace the staircase landings, adding a natural element to the indoor environment on every level.

Kathleen Tully, asset manager, Eden Property Asset Management said: “We want to make sure that wellbeing is at the forefront of everything we do in the building and live planting has a positive mental effect on peoples working lives.

She said: “Everyone loves live planting, and we try to use it wherever we can.”

While every floor has its own specific colour, in the main reception all the tints come together in a rainbow of planters.

Pink and purple desk bowls adorn the reception desk, with the café and seating areas decked out with planters in the five remaining orchard fruit tones.

The backdrop is bright, and the space feels alive with staff and their dogs (more on that below) milling around, conducting meetings and taking breaks away from their desks.

Maximising wellbeing on the exterior grounds

Located on the busy Queensferry Road in Edinburgh, Orchard Brae House occupies a large triangular plot, with much of the exterior space being designated as car parking for 200 cars, leaving the corners as shrubland.

Close to the city centre, the urban location lacks proximity to open green space.

Once again, the team at Eden spotted an opportunity to improve wellbeing at work and set out to utilise these spaces more effectively.

Surrounded by almost 250 mature trees, the leafy corners were the perfect spots to locate a sanctuary garden and dog walking area.

Eden’s asset manager said: “We decided we needed some space for people to go outside and have their lunch or do some work, so we created the sanctuary garden.”

The projects team at GP Plantscape, cleared and removed the vegetation from the site, created a winding path, covering the area with woodchip and lowering the step access for accessibility.

In the opposite corner, the GP team got to work fencing and gating the area, before clearing the vegetation and applying woodchip to create a play area for the staff’s canine companions.

Kathleen explained the rationale behind creating a dog walking area: “Since COVID we are finding a lot of our tenants have dogs and now that they are going back to work they don’t know what to do with them so the entire building is dog friendly, including the café, toilets and office space.

“But we needed a space where people could exercise their dogs and let them run free.”

Line marking

On average, Kathleen estimates there are about 400 people per day in the building and accompanying them can be up to 50 four legged companions.

During the week there are also around 40-50 cyclists travelling to work at Orchard Brae House and making use of the 100-capacity bike store on site.

To ease safe access on site, GP Plantscape added line markings in the car park for pedestrians heading to either the sanctuary garden or the dog walking area and for cyclists on route to the bike park.

With a mission ‘to asset manage property by putting people and the environment at the forefront of all decisions and designs,’ the team at Eden have championed their ESG principals in the rebrand and redesign of Orchard Brae House.

The addition of live planting and access to green space have been scientifically proven to improve both mental and physical wellbeing.

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Kevin Stewart, Facilities Manager , Registers of Scotland
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Caroline Hammond, Office Manager , LSPIM
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Sandy Fraser, Facility Management , Glenmorangie
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Gordon Anthony, General Manager , Park Hotel
“Incorporating biophilia in a recent hybrid pilot workspace for a client in Glasgow was such an important part of the jigsaw. The project included large trees, standing planters in various designs, shelf planters and two bespoke moss walls. The exterior courtyard also underwent a transformation including power washing the paving, sanding and painting of the exterior furniture, new gravel, a new Astro turf putting green and various planters with lovely biophilia displays. The feedback has been fantastic and people have been raving about it from a senior level. A big thanks to all the team at GP who were a great support and pulled out all the stops to ensure completion on time.”
Susan Houston, Sales Support Manager , Apleona
“We pride ourselves on being a very culture orientated company where employee’s welfare is at the forefront of every decision. I want the office to be a welcoming and happy space for everyone who comes in and getting plants put in was the next obvious decision for this. We love our plants and couldn’t be without them now.”
Nikki Thng, CEO & Founder , Class for Kids
“The greenery creates a calm and tranquil environment in which to work and are conducive to the design process.”
Mette Møller, Urban Designer , HarrisonStevens
“UWS are delighted with the end result, GP Plantscape excelled from start to finish working closely with us carrying out several reviews and provided multiple options for us to consider. ”
John MacFarlane , Facilities and Maintenance Manager, UWS
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