Rio Tinto


Interior Planting at Rio Tinto

Leading global mining group, Rio Tinto is admired and respected for its management of a world class portfolio of mineral resources. Since its formation in 1873, the company’s head office has been situated in London, recently re-locating to newly refurbished offices in St James Square.


 The brief

PHS Greenleaf Account Manager, Terri Maree was invited by Rio Tinto’s Facilities Manager to put together a time-critical tender presentation for interior planting in the new offices. The planting was to provide a soft yet professional ambience in containers supplied by the interior designer throughout the building’s 7 floors. With many of the containers at eye level, the plants needed to be of the highest quality.

The solution

Even without an in-depth site survey and with access only to drawings, Terri impressed the decision makers with her knowledge and experience, suggesting suitable plants and costings. She cleverly selected plants for their versatility, taking into account that unknown factors such as lighting, container depth and draughts that might affect the specimens.

Operating to a tight deadline, the PHS Greenleaf team of 9 technicians spent 2 days installing some 850 plants in challenging conditions – other contractors were still on site making access difficult, and just one lift was available to transport all of the workers and supplies!

Slight adjustments to the planting scheme had to be made in in-situ to accommodate some unexpected variations in the size of the containers. And once the planting was complete, containers were dressed with black pebbles to compliment the offices’ interior décor.

The result

As well as the usual health benefits – cleaner air and a therapeutic atmosphere – the plants create an interesting mix of colour and texture throughout the Rio Tinto offices. The variety of species combines colourful variegated foliage (calathea medallion or zebra plant and aglonaema pattaya beauty) with spikey succulents (ferocactus stainsii cactus and aloe vera); and the glossy leaves of the dracaena compacta (dragon tree) contrast with the trailing scindapsus.

With some of these plants requiring particular attention, PHS Greenleaf’s trained horticulturalists will be on hand for regular maintenance visits to ensure that they continue to reflect the professional image of Rio Tinto.

Management at Rio Tinto were so pleased with the end result that PHS Greenleaf has since been contracted to design, supply and maintain planting on the executive balcony.

On completion of the project, Terri said, “This was a tough but rewarding job. Seeing how delighted the customer was with the end result has made all of our efforts worthwhile. We wish the staff at Rio Tinto all the best in their new offices.”