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Thursday, Feb 2, 2023
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Green Space Taken To New Height

If you find yourself walking down Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles, take a look to the west – and up – when you pass by the PacMutual Campus.

Climbing up the side of the building between Fifth and Sixth streets, just across from Pershing Square, is an 80-foot tall “living wall” – a massive vertical plant display.

Downtown real estate firm Rising Realty Partners, which owns the building, unveiled the wall this month, saying it’s the largest living wall in the city.

Chris Rising, president of Rising Realty, said the side of the building where the living wall is located used to be a fire exit, which was added in the 1980s. It was odd looking, and clearly not original to the building, and he wanted to cover it up with something.

“Our team wanted to have some kind of art on the wall,” Rising said. “And what better way to bring life to Olive Street than with a giant living wall.”

He said the inspiration for the planter came from French botanist Patrick Blanc, who calls himself the inventor of the vertical garden and has installed living walls around the world.

Rising Realty chose a living wall system designed by LiveWall, a vertical garden designer in Spring Lake, Mich. The wall features drought-tolerant plants and a low-water irrigation system.

It’s fitting that Rising traces the wall’s inspiration to Blanc, as the wall is just next door to PacMutual’s newest tenant, Pitchoun. The café and bakery was co-founded by French expats Fabienne and Frederic Soulies, who have made a point to make their restaurant authentically Gallic, with chairs and wine barrels imported from France.

While the wall was completed last year, it wasn’t unveiled until Pitchoun, which means “kiddo,” opened this month.

– Subrina Hudson

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