Space Encounters uses planted partitions to divide office in Utrecht

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Tropical plants sprouting up from partition walls provide privacy to workers inside this office in Utrecht, which has been overhauled by architecture studio Space Encounters.

Occupying the 14th floor of a recently-completed tower in central Utrecht, the office for Dutch property developers Synchroon features leafy partitions that are intended to be an alternative to claustrophobic, boxed-in workrooms.

"The closed office appears to be a thing of the past and an open layout has become the standard," explained Amsterdam-based studio Space Encounters, which was charged with designing the office interiors.

"However, attaining this open feeling requires specific interior strategies to overthrow the question if it really is an open space. Division and hierarchy of some areas can create a pleasant notion, but when the space is separated too much we end up sacrificing the open atmosphere."

The studio arranged the workspace around a series of one-metre-high walls clad in white tiles. At the top of each is a soil-filled trough, from which tropical plants rise up to form a "green veil" between employees of different departments. Over 750 plants have been used throughout the entire office.