And finally… Cut down in its ‘Prime’ – Amazon takes plants in the office to next level

Online retailer Amazon has unveiled a miniature rainforest of 40,000 plants which form the centrepiece of its $4 billion office expansion, including a 55ft tree transported from a farm in southern California.

Located at the company’s headquarters in Seattle, the Spheres are three glass domes that house plants from 400 rare or endangered species from all over the world.

The project includes living walls up to 60 feet in height, a 49-year-old ficus tree named Rubi, a fernery and a canopy walk.

Communal benches and private study spaces lace the man-made jungle, which is complete with a river and waterfall, allowing a portion of Amazon’s 40,000 Seattle employees to “feel differently, to think differently” while they compile reports and hold strategy meetings, according to Ron Gagliardo, the lead horticulturist.

There’s a focus on “ethnobotanically important” plants from a variety of cultures, which refers to how plants and people interact.

The intention is for Amazon workers to have a link to nature, even in the midst of an urban environment. “The Spheres are a consequence of a lot of deep thought,” says John Schoettler, VP of corporate real estate and facilities. “And we wanted to create something very special, a unique environment for employees to come and collaborate and innovate.”