Amazon's Seattle Spheres

Amazon’s newly opened Seattle campus sets out to give the company’s 40 thousand workers an inspiring and relaxed workplace - by including three 90-foot-tall glass spheres filled with a diverse array of plants.

The sphere sector of the US$4 billion campus opened earlier this year - in them - more than 40 thousand plants from over 30 countries. Highlights include a 49-foot, 36,000-pound tree named Rubi, a fernery, and 25,000 plants woven into 4,000 square feet of living walls.

 Amazon's Seattle campus includes these 90 foot, plant filled spheres. Photo courtesy of Amazon.

Amazon's Seattle campus includes these 90 foot, plant filled spheres. Photo courtesy of Amazon.

Ben Eiben, the horticulture program manager, says the project was inspired by the concept of biophilia - the idea that we as humans have an instinctive urge to connect with nature. Being in spaces that utilise biophilic design can improve brain function and inspire creativity. 

Winding walkways, a tree house, waterfall, bridges, and a conference room encased in greenery are all featured in the space, and the surrounding site is parkland including a public dog run.

 The spheres house thousands of plants including living walls. Photo courtesy of Amazon

The spheres house thousands of plants including living walls. Photo courtesy of Amazon

While the spheres are kept at around 22 degrees Celsius and 60% humidity, plants are rotated between the campus and a greenhouse in Washington depending on the season.

Designers NBJJ say, “as exposure to nature is proven to put people at ease and help them think more creatively, the spheres are designed to help Amazon employees feel and work their best.”

 There are plants from around 30 countries inside the spheres. Photo courtesy of Amazon.

There are plants from around 30 countries inside the spheres. Photo courtesy of Amazon.

The key concept for the spheres was to give workers with high-stress jobs a space to disconnect and get in touch with nature. John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president of global real estate, described it as “a place where all employees in the company can come and hang out and get in touch with nature.” 

The spheres have their own webpage seattlespheres.com for more information about the project and in particular the plants. 

 The aim of the spheres is to help Amazon staff connect with nature. Photo courtesy of Amazon.

The aim of the spheres is to help Amazon staff connect with nature. Photo courtesy of Amazon.