The central library of Helsinki, Oodi has received plenty of international media attention. Beautiful, natural architecture and design make Oodi a remarkable place. When we were included in the making of the green decor at Oodi, we knew that this was something very special.
One could describe the central library Oodi as the living room of the entire city. It’s a place for hanging out, enjoying and relaxing. Whether it’s reading of just feeling good, you can achieve that at Oodi. Even the smallest detail has been thought of. The Helsinki central library was designed by Architecture agency ALA.
Oodi is an excellent example of biophiliac design. Biophilia refers to a person’s need to be in contact with nature and life in its various forms. Nature makes us feel better, in the present but also in the long run. Biophilic design takes into account socio cultural expectations and norms and aspects that affect health. Also users of the space and how they perceive the space and how long people usually spend time in the space are considered. The design process is guided by the idea that nature has a positive effect on health and this taken into account throughout the process and utilized. The main focus is on the human and a human’s natural relationship towards nature.
In Oodi, the natural way of design can be clearly seen in the materials and soft shapes of the space and architecture. The spaces are filled with natural light and natural elements. Moving from space to space is logical and easy. We provided 9 Bucida buceras trees, also known as bullet tree or black olive tree, to Oodi. We also built two green walls for Oodi, one in the meditation space and another one in the space for Oodi staff.
Instead of small pots we needed something massive
The idea of mesmerizing indoor trees came from the architect Heikki Ruoho. The type of the tree was chosen very carefully since the trees needed to be showy but also light and airy. The Bucida buceras from Central America was chosen for the job because of its delicate and small leaves and petite tree trunk. The trees are lush and big without being too heavy.
“Getting the bullet trees to Oodi was a bold and demanding project. Transporting and planting big trees needs a lot of careful planning and meticulousness. The trees were brought in front of the Oodi building by truck, after that they were lifted up by crane through the window up to the third floor. The trees were planted in their massive pots on site. “We built a custom scaffold for the trees so they could be lifted safely up to the third floor. The lifting had to be done quickly and without any hassle since it was really cold outside. Plants cannot survive in that temperature for a long time.”, explains Teijo Tiainen, InnoGreen’s greenery installer.
“The temperature needed to be just right during the transport from the Netherlands to Finland. Bucida buceras can survive approximately 15 degrees celcius but if the temperature drops to 10 degrees celcius it poses a severe risk for the tree. During winter time the transportation of any plant needs to be very well scheduled and planned.”
After the trees were lifted up on the third floor they were moved to the planting site. We usually plant all plants in our InnoGreen premises. This time we decided to plant the trees on site because of the challenging transportation process.
“On the third floor each tree was planted in their pots by four greenery installers. One tree weighed about 150 kilos and we had massive one cubic meter pots for the tree and its large roots. 150 bags of soil and 50 liters of water were needed to plant the nine trees in their pots”, explains Sami Karppinen. He describes the planting process, “we had to carefully plan the planting process of each tree so that the weight of the pot was distributed evenly. The floor structures of the space could hold 400 kilos per square meter. One pot, soil and tree weighed in total just under 400 kilos.”
Planting during the wintertime can be tricky. Cold weather is one thing but also darkness. Trees from exotic countries need light up to 12 hours a day. The massive trees at Oodi will soon get their own plant lights so that they can thrive in the library as well as possible.