Seattle is celebrating the grand opening of The Spheres, Amazon’s miniature rainforest and office. It is made of half domes filled with 40,000 different plants from around the world. The Sphere took seven years and $4 billion to complete. From the outside, it looks otherworldly. The three orbs jet out of the earth, shiny from the glass exterior.
The largest sphere is the centerpiece and measures 130 feet across and 90 feet tall. Flanked on each side by two smaller domes, this most unusual work setting can house 800 people at a time. While some features remain the same, such as Wi-Fi and small meeting spaces, there are no traditional closed offices. This space is for workers to come and refresh, be with nature, and think differently.
The Sphere is biophilia, which means it has natural features, plants, and natural light. These outdoor inspired designs have shown to increase creativity in employees. Playfully named “the bird’s nest,” one gathering area literally hangs out under a mammoth tree.
The walls are alive with plants, and vertical gardens grow up to sky. Phragmipedium orchids cover one wall, a plant from South America with a similar appearance to slipper orchids. Another wall grows pitcher plants. A carnivorous plant that captures its prey in deep leaf-formed cavities filled with digestive enzymes.
Amazon’s rainforest in the middle of Seattle is open for visitors. The Spheres Discovery at Understory gives hours, parking instructions, and directions. The understory term means the area between the rainforest canopies but above the ground plants, and promises 360-degree views.