Brutal Green by Haenke

London’s brutalist hidden gem comes alive with greenery in the latest project by Haenke.

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They say that the average human spends at least a quarter of his life at work yet so many of us are spending this time in bleak, grey offices that are actively detrimental to our happiness and well being. It was this sad truth that inspired ‘Brutal Green’, the latest project brought to us by Haenke, a multidisciplinary Czech collaborative that blends science and art to create cutting edge and thought provoking projects. Discovering that, according to a study by Exeter University, plants could increase workers’ memory and concentration by 15 percent, Haenke sought to find a way to seamlessly integrate plants and industry and revitalise both workplace and worker.

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In the new Czech Embassy in London’s Notting Hill, Haenke found the perfect grey canvas for their project. Together with Tereza Porybná, director of the Czech Centre London who have their offices in the Embassy, they’ve found a way to brighten up the brutalist architecture whilst still paying homage to the building’s remarkable cultural heritage. Built in 1970 by Czech architect Jan Bočan, the complex received the renowned RIBA Architecture Award in 1971 and remains an important landmark building for fans of brutalist architecture everywhere. Rather than attempt to disguise or conceal the omnipresent concrete, Haenke’s project enhances and compliments it. Using a large range of house plants cultivated in concrete pots, green peacefully juxtaposes grey and offers diversity and variety in an otherwise brutal backdrop. The plants offer not only aesthetic pleasure but also health benefits, purifying and cleansing the air. Check out FAMU student Anezka Horova’s video and be inspired; you might not get to choose your office but you can decide to make it into a living space that breathes in harmony with its inhabitants. 

Learn more about Haenke at or in our article 'WHAT IS HAENKE?' featured in SOFFA 20. You can read the free teaser below or buy the printed copy in our e-shop.

words: Portia Cox | photo: company's archives

interiors, peopleSoffa