Plants + Creativity Make For Stunning Hospitality Biophilic Design

Good Earth |
September 14, 2022
Images by GTC Design

Coco Cabana

Oceanside, CA has evolved into a gorgeous destination for food, drinks and ocean views. Once known mostly for rowdy fun, with the addition of luxury boutique hotels and shopping, it’s stepping up its game.

Good Earth Plant Co. was thrilled for the opportunity to partner with creative architectural design firm GTC Creative on biophilic design for one of these gorgeous new Oceanside boutique hotels – The Brick Hotel, including the Q&A Oyster Bay and rooftop bar and lounge Coco Cabana. Hospitality design incorporating plants, or biophilic design, has been a growing trend for the last 5 years.

Biophilic design immediately gives a space a warmer, more vibrant feel. Each project comes with an owner’s and/or designer’s vision. Here’s a look at how we brought the jungle to an urban rooftop with an ocean view.

Vibe Goals

The restaurateur’s vision was to create an elevated “casual vibe” for the restaurants and bar that looks and feels like the jungle ecosystem in Tulum, Mexico. GTC Design, which stands for Good Times Creative, incorporated a lot of nature into their design to create the vibe.

GTC Design founder Nuwan Ranasinghe said, “With this particular restaurant group, they like to go plant forward because the concept is jungle-like.”

Needing a local company that could both execute the vision and maintain the plants, they called Good Earth Plant Co. We were excited for the challenge and we truly enjoyed the process. Despite all of the projects we’ve done over the last 45 years, from expansive living walls to intricate green rooftop designs, we were in awe of the results. Also, we will be using the term plant forward going forward.

Bringing The Design Project to Life With Plants
Coco Cabana
Tulum, Mexico is a 4.5 hour plane ride from San Diego, and a different climate. While Tulum is classified as a tropical savanna, San Diego has an arid sub-tropical climate. Nuwan’s team knew they needed to chose plants that were resilient to the sun and wind, “We worked with our initial visualization team, helping them understand that we need those types of plants and where we want plants.”

The challenge of bringing the plant plans to life was handed to the Good Earth Plant Co. team, led by lead designer Rachel Hecathorn.
CocoCabana 7.jpg 1006.63 KB

One key area that’s often under utilized is the overhead space. Rachel was able to effectively use it, really contributing to the jungle feel.

GTC liked the results. “[Good Earth Plant Co.] recommended things that were better than what we initially visualized,” said Nuwan. “Since we are on a rooftop…it’s kind of like bringing the scale of the ceiling down the sky down.”

The fact that the plants are living makes it feel organic and ever-changing, notes Nuwan. “The last time I went there, they were a good 2-3 ft longer.”

Nuwan and GTC Design Director of Operations Maxeen Gomez report their client loves the results. “Better than we imagined is the ultimate compliment, right?”

Nuwan says in the post-quarantine era, and with more attention being paid to environmental issues, more hospitality clients want nature built into their restaurant and bar designs. We want to feel the freedom of being outside, even when we’re not.

“It’s a necessary part to communicate the design effectively… it’s a completely different product if it doesn’t have the plants. Because they’re so organic, it’s an ever-changing part of the design that never gets old. It keeps adapting and changing and changing.”

We look forward to working with GTC Design again on future hospitality biophilic design projects, and with the many talented artists in the design community. It’s a privilege to bring your vision for your client projects to life, enriching our lives with plants.

If you have a design you’d like to incorporate hospitality biophilic design into, we’d love to hear from you. We help architects, landscape architects, interior designers, graphic designers, and other artists to add plants that thrive and look beautiful. Check out our portfolio to see some of our favorite San Diego projects.

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