Vegetal Cities

Why would you want to redesign a tree?

The Belgian architect Luc Schuiten uses biomimicry as an underlying approach to rethink the way we build cities.  Inspired by nature he transforms urban cities into living breathing organisms – vegetal cities.

He suggests in the TEDx Nantes talk below that trees already have a great structures so the best approach is build cities guided by the way tree grows. Instead of chopping trees down, we should prune and graft them into dwellings. Vegetal cities where the metod “archiborescence” is used to create buildings and structures.  A merge of the man-made and nature in a pure form that respects nature.

Love the idea with a city of Waves, where skyscrapers are built with water-loving trees.  The trees are cared for by “gardener-architects”.


Luc Schuit


Luc Schuit

A rethink of the way we usually do things may a first glance appear a bit provocative. This vision may seem impossible to achieve but lots of things may seem impossible until someone actually does it – like sending a spacecraft to Pluto. And some designer such as Anne van Klooster has already started to embrace these ideas.  A plantable home!


 Anne van Klooster

Forget Plastic and Use Bacteria Mini-Factories to Grow Your Own Products

Would you like the power to grow environmentally symbiotic products?

Biologist Aakriti Jain and industrial designer Guillian Graves are working together to create a machine the can turn cellulose into everyday consumer products. A bacteria and yeast micro-factory that can enable you to grow your own products at home.

Growduce – is a vision of the future where small micro-factories are used to help us produce everyday products. A circular design strategy where waste and compost are used to create new products that are organic and can be recycled back into the system again.


This idea is still at a conceptual stage but it sounds fascinating to rely on colonies of bacteria that produce layers of cellulose which can be formed into different items. The yeast may look slimy and soft but when grown cellulose sets it takes on properties similar to leather. A safe, recyclable, and sustainable alternative to not only today’s plastic but also to the transportation and wasteful packing of products.

Growduce colony of bacteria grows on compost material and by adding additives such as mint, aloe vera and natural pigments, different colours and textures can be created. The idea is that moulds should be open-sourced and people can share designs and ideas for things they want to make.

I feel excited about the way biologists are working together with designers to change the way we think about technology and production. The aim is to create as small appliance so that we can  grow our own plates, coffee machines and. . . the sky is the limit.

What would you like to grow and design?


Photos: dezeen

Plastic Waste Turned into Mushrooms

 An incubator that transforms plastic waste into mushroom. Sounds incredible!

Food production in the future might look like utopia! Fungi growing on sterilized plastic waste sounds like a wild and crazy idea.

The Fungi Mutarium is a prototype to grow fungi around recycled plastic wastes, breaking down and digesting the material as it develops. A novel fungi Food that embraces the very best of design thinking – pushing ideas to make social or ecological change.

At the moment this idea is still under development , it takes a couple of months to break down the plastic waste, but hopefully this process can be achieved a bit quicker. To enhance the eating experience some special cutlery has been designed.

A”Moon Spoon” for scraping, a “Hollknife” that both cuts and acts as a straw, and chopstick-like “Round Chops” for carrying pods from incubator to plate.

The fungi are grown on  designed agar shapes,  a seaweed based gelatin substitute and acts, mixed with starch and sugar, as a nutrient base for the fungi. The shapes  are filled with plastics and the fungi digests the plastic and overgrows the whole substrate. The shape of the pod (called FU)  is designed so that it holds the plastic.


The fungi used here are  Schizophyllum Commune and Pleurotus Ostreatus, these fungi  break down the plastic ingredients. Fungi can store metals but in this case the plastic is broken down and the pod can be eaten.

Watch the video below and check out this idea at Livin Studio.

Photos. Livin

What will Climate Change do to your Life

Thinking about future is a step towards taking action and also a way to adapt towards the changes. Exploring the future highlights difficult choices that we may face. Yet it is important not to adopt a negative attitude, rather a search for possible ways to minimize, prevent and even prepare ourselves for certain scenarios.

  • How will strange weather benefit me?
  • How will I work and live when there is climate chaos?
  • How will my relationship with nature change and develop?BF29_bored_talk_about_the_ copy

An exhibition at the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin explores Strange Weather. Overall, the aim is to empower visitors and to make them laugh. Imagining the future is an important step to encourage us to take action. A different approach to making us feel guilty over the choices that we make.

A curious mindset is more likely to engage in a debate about the future and what we can do to adapt our culture to the changes.

An artwork by Tania Kitchell called Occupy 11 shows alien and invasive plants in the Arctic.  There is a disconnection between reality and the perception in the photo (see above) the plants are not in proportion and the sizes are wrong. in a similar way where have misconceptions about the Arctic.

A cloud collector is used by Karolina Sobecka in the artwork called  Thinking like a Cloud.  The idea is expand our consciousness by sending a cloud collector into the atmosphere attached to a weather balloon that collects cloud samples which are analysed  for microorganisms. Then the cloud samples are digested by volunteers who become part of the cloud. . . A way to think dive into how we interact with the environment.