Fans of the great environmentalist John Muir will love the Moss Room, a restaurant in the basement of the California Academy of Sciences that uses environmentally-conscious design to evoke Muir's preservationist ideals. Named after the dramatic green wall that wraps around the dining room, the Olle Lundberg-designed restaurant was built with a commitment to sustainability. The Moss Room's locally sourced fare and green material choices has helped make Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences the greenest museum in the world.
When Lundberg Design was hired to create the restaurant design, the biggest challenge they faced was figuring out how to attract people from the natural-history museum’s exciting exhibitions above down to a quiet and window-less space in the basement. To entice visitors, Lundberg installed a two story tall living wall that’s visible from the upper floor and extends down into the basement level, stopping short of a water feature filled with beautiful South Asia river fish. The green wall measures 28 feet by 40 feet and is planted with ferns, succulents, and moss-like plants that grow between 100-year-old Vermont roofing slates.
While the planted wall is the highlight of the space, the contemporary restaurant design also brings other elements of the gorgeous northern California landscape indoors with the custom furnishings. Mouth-blown glass pendants hang above wooden furnishings such as the redwood slab table and end-grain douglas fir and steel dining table that were made in the Lundberg Design shop. In addition to other sustainable and green equipment specifications, material, and lighting choices, the Moss Room also celebrates the local California palette by serving locally-grown food.