Trailblazer: Amanda Goldberg

Say goodbye to wallpaper.

amanda goldberg
CHRISTIE HEMM KLOK

What plants can we incorporate onto this wall to entice local pollinators? How close can we get these fresh herbs to a chef’s kitchen?” Amanda Goldberg spends a lot of time thinking about how people use spaces. The Emeryville-based founder and CEO of Planted Design has a background in industrial design and sustainability and oversees a team that creates living walls—made out of plants—for offices, public spaces, private homes, and events. Chefs and honeybees aren’t the only beneficiaries. Guests at a Maker’s Mark pavilion at the Kentucky Derby were invited to pick fresh mint directly from a Goldberg-designed wall for their cocktails. A project for a client “has to not only have a beautiful aesthetic,” says Goldberg, “but be functional and serve them in the long term.”

On the power of the humble pothos: “It’s a tropical understory plant from New Guinea. And it’s one of the only plants that can exist with practically no natural lighting. You can find them at Home Depot, and they’re pretty hard to kill. It’s one of NASA’s top air-purifying plants.”

On spreading sustainability: “We work with local nurseries as well as vendors that are ecologically focused. Every installation we do is different. Some of the living walls have recirculating units in them [so] the water doesn’t just drain off; it’s held in a tank and then reused.”

On how the pandemic has changed her work: “With buildings being unoccupied now, we have the opportunity to redesign them in a way that’s going to best suit team members. We’ve also been doing more live partition walls to create separation, in addition to putting more plants around interior spaces for the air-purifying benefits.”•

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