July 29, 2022

One of the zaniest, most eye-popping destinations on the Madison Fling tour in June was the corporate headquarters of medical-software giant Epic Systems, located in the rolling farm country of Verona, Wisconsin. Soulless lawns, sprawling junipers, boxwood hedges, and other ubiquitous ground-fillers of corporate landscaping are banished at Epic. God only knows what they spend on garden design and maintenance, not to mention architecture and interior design, but the result is a geeky, color-saturated, over-the-top playland for adults. Walking through Epic’s 1,100-acre campus is like dropping into Oz in all its technicolor glory. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

The 43-year-old company founded by billionaire CEO Judy Faulkner “has 9,800 employees…and $2.9 billion in annual revenue. More than 250 million people worldwide have medical records on software created by Epic,” according to Madison.com. “Epic’s Verona campus encompasses…22 office buildings, two large food service buildings, a training center with 65 training rooms and a 5,800-seat auditorium, and the Deep Space auditorium that seats 11,400.”

Epic indeed.

Due to time constraints and the sheer size of the place, we only saw a portion of the Epic campus, which is organized into 5 smaller campuses of theme-park-like office buildings. Today in Part 1, I’ll show you the Storybook Campus with 5 buildings and gardens representing classic children’s stories, starting with Oz.

Oz

In Oz a green-tiled building with spiked turrets stands in for the Emerald City — and yes, masses of red poppies lead up to it (thankfully, not the narcotic kind).

These poppies are ever-blooming metal — surprise!

It’s playful and creative. I loved it.

A pumpkin-headed scarecrow points the way.

But watch out for the apple-throwing apple tree!

He doesn’t take kindly to being picked.

Tilework on the Emerald City building

And a last look across the poppies to the apple tree. The green-and-red onion dome beyond belongs to…

Jules Vern

…the Jules Vern building, referencing Around the World in 80 Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

A garden of grasses and salvias undulates in front of the building like a rippling, blue-green sea.

And lo and behold, there’s the giant squid wrapping its tentacled arms around the Nautilus in a pool of blue glass.

The Chocolate Factory

Next door, an industrial-looking building invites you in through a “chocolate” arch.

Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is fronted by a garden of flowering perennials, shrubs, and trees.

I bet pollinators love this garden.

Playful glass spirals ? la Chihuly…

and orbs add extra color.

Purple salvia is complemented by a purple lollipop-like orb. In the distance looms…

Grimm

…a Northern European-style structure that evokes Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Nordic-looking trees and grasses create the illusion of a meadow at a forest’s edge.

A fairy ring of toadstools stands amid meadowy grasses.

A red-capped gnome seems to warn you away with a worried expression.

It’s all done on a vast scale. And how nice to have meadow grasses instead of lawn, right?

Of course there’s a gingerbread house in Grimm.

It’s a conference room! Outside, the Little Red Riding Hood wolf dressed up in Grandmother’s clothing stands by to greet you.

What big teeth you have.

Alice

Hints of Alice in Wonderland appear nearby, with a grinning Cheshire Cat in a window…

…and another tucked into a garden bed.

The Emerald City is a bit distracting in the background, but I believe this is the Queen of Hearts’ croquet lawn, with chairs where one size makes you larger, and one size makes you small.

Shades of green and gold in Wonderland

The entrance to the Alice building is decked out with card guards and hearts.

We got to see the inside of the Alice building, and what a surprise it is! Epic goes all in on a theme.

I’d forgotten that there’s an upside-down room in Wonderland, but Epic hasn’t. A staircase, chandelier, and hat rack float upside down…

…and even a bird in a cage. Can you imagine working in an office surrounded by such playful decor? Would it inspire creativity? Would you become blind to it over time? I wonder…

King’s Cross Station

A few minutes later we were suddenly in King’s Cross Station in London and the realm of Harry Potter.

In the center of the “station” — a cafeteria, with train platforms labeled along the walls. I looked but didn’t see Platform 9-3/4. Copyright issues, I assume.

Mural hallway

Another hallway provides a canvas for colorful murals, including a rainbow-esque stretch…

…an anime-style face…

…and a…yellow panda?

This one reminds me of a Banksy.

In a lobby/dining hall I spotted a sculptural work embodying the fauna of North America.

Or perhaps Mother Nature?

Up next: Part 2 of my tour of Epic’s campus, including an enormous green roof planted with prairie perennials and more themed gardens. For a look back at the sun-to-shade garden of Rita Thomas, click here.

I welcome your comments. Please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post. And hey, did someone forward this email to you, and you want to subscribe? Click here to get Digging delivered directly to your inbox!

__________________________

Digging Deeper

Join the mailing list for Garden Spark! Hungry to learn about garden design from the experts? I’m hosting a series of talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added. The 6th season kicks off in fall 2022.

All material (C) 2022 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

The post Epic Systems campus, a fantasyland of gardens and architecture, Part 1 appeared first on Digging.

Exploring Epic Systems’ 1,100-acre campus is like dropping into Oz in technicolor glory, with fantasy-theme gardens and office buildings…. Read More
The post Epic Systems campus, a fantasyland of gardens and architecture, Part 1 appeared first on Digging.Read MoreDigging

July 29, 2022

One of the zaniest, most eye-popping destinations on the Madison Fling tour in June was the corporate headquarters of medical-software giant Epic Systems, located in the rolling farm country of Verona, Wisconsin. Soulless lawns, sprawling junipers, boxwood hedges, and other ubiquitous ground-fillers of corporate landscaping are banished at Epic. God only knows what they spend on garden design and maintenance, not to mention architecture and interior design, but the result is a geeky, color-saturated, over-the-top playland for adults. Walking through Epic’s 1,100-acre campus is like dropping into Oz in all its technicolor glory. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

The 43-year-old company founded by billionaire CEO Judy Faulkner “has 9,800 employees…and $2.9 billion in annual revenue. More than 250 million people worldwide have medical records on software created by Epic,” according to Madison.com. “Epic’s Verona campus encompasses…22 office buildings, two large food service buildings, a training center with 65 training rooms and a 5,800-seat auditorium, and the Deep Space auditorium that seats 11,400.”

Epic indeed.

Due to time constraints and the sheer size of the place, we only saw a portion of the Epic campus, which is organized into 5 smaller campuses of theme-park-like office buildings. Today in Part 1, I’ll show you the Storybook Campus with 5 buildings and gardens representing classic children’s stories, starting with Oz.

Oz

In Oz a green-tiled building with spiked turrets stands in for the Emerald City — and yes, masses of red poppies lead up to it (thankfully, not the narcotic kind).

These poppies are ever-blooming metal — surprise!

It’s playful and creative. I loved it.

A pumpkin-headed scarecrow points the way.

But watch out for the apple-throwing apple tree!

He doesn’t take kindly to being picked.

Tilework on the Emerald City building

And a last look across the poppies to the apple tree. The green-and-red onion dome beyond belongs to…

Jules Vern

…the Jules Vern building, referencing Around the World in 80 Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

A garden of grasses and salvias undulates in front of the building like a rippling, blue-green sea.

And lo and behold, there’s the giant squid wrapping its tentacled arms around the Nautilus in a pool of blue glass.

The Chocolate Factory

Next door, an industrial-looking building invites you in through a “chocolate” arch.

Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is fronted by a garden of flowering perennials, shrubs, and trees.

I bet pollinators love this garden.

Playful glass spirals ? la Chihuly…

and orbs add extra color.

Purple salvia is complemented by a purple lollipop-like orb. In the distance looms…

Grimm

…a Northern European-style structure that evokes Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Nordic-looking trees and grasses create the illusion of a meadow at a forest’s edge.

A fairy ring of toadstools stands amid meadowy grasses.

A red-capped gnome seems to warn you away with a worried expression.

It’s all done on a vast scale. And how nice to have meadow grasses instead of lawn, right?

Of course there’s a gingerbread house in Grimm.

It’s a conference room! Outside, the Little Red Riding Hood wolf dressed up in Grandmother’s clothing stands by to greet you.

What big teeth you have.

Alice

Hints of Alice in Wonderland appear nearby, with a grinning Cheshire Cat in a window…

…and another tucked into a garden bed.

The Emerald City is a bit distracting in the background, but I believe this is the Queen of Hearts’ croquet lawn, with chairs where one size makes you larger, and one size makes you small.

Shades of green and gold in Wonderland

The entrance to the Alice building is decked out with card guards and hearts.

We got to see the inside of the Alice building, and what a surprise it is! Epic goes all in on a theme.

I’d forgotten that there’s an upside-down room in Wonderland, but Epic hasn’t. A staircase, chandelier, and hat rack float upside down…

…and even a bird in a cage. Can you imagine working in an office surrounded by such playful decor? Would it inspire creativity? Would you become blind to it over time? I wonder…

King’s Cross Station

A few minutes later we were suddenly in King’s Cross Station in London and the realm of Harry Potter.

In the center of the “station” — a cafeteria, with train platforms labeled along the walls. I looked but didn’t see Platform 9-3/4. Copyright issues, I assume.

Mural hallway

Another hallway provides a canvas for colorful murals, including a rainbow-esque stretch…

…an anime-style face…

…and a…yellow panda?

This one reminds me of a Banksy.

In a lobby/dining hall I spotted a sculptural work embodying the fauna of North America.

Or perhaps Mother Nature?

Up next: Part 2 of my tour of Epic’s campus, including an enormous green roof planted with prairie perennials and more themed gardens. For a look back at the sun-to-shade garden of Rita Thomas, click here.

I welcome your comments. Please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post. And hey, did someone forward this email to you, and you want to subscribe? Click here to get Digging delivered directly to your inbox!

__________________________

Digging Deeper

Join the mailing list for Garden Spark! Hungry to learn about garden design from the experts? I’m hosting a series of talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added. The 6th season kicks off in fall 2022.

All material (C) 2022 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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