Disused Tube ticket offices are being turned into miniature tropical gardens

The first garden had the unintended effect of cleaning the station's dirty air a little

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The Independent Culture

When automated ticket machines left a traditional manned office empty at St James's Park tube station, Transport for London tasked design group The Edible Bus Stop with transforming it into 'something green and engaging'.

They came up with tiny, illuminated gardens, designed to soothe commuters as they pass through the gates and having the unintended side-effect of improving the air quality in the station.

"We believe that green infrastructure need not stop as you enter a building," they said. "Most urban dwellers spend 80% of their time indoors, therefore, the introduction of interior green space can have a significant impact on those that live, work and play in that space.

"We also understand the importance of biophilia and so the solution was simple, create mirrored grow units that offer views into tiny tropical parks."

Prototypes were tested for over a year to ensure that the correct plants were selected, with some original choices actually growing too quickly.

The ticket office has two windows and both are planted high, giving the illusion that outside of the subterranean station is a tropical wilderness.

According to Londonist, more designs are being worked up, including a tiny Japanese-themed Zen garden complete with bonsai tree, which could be rolled out to more Tube stations.