Come and grow – the spoga+gafa blog » Articles by: Leif Hallerbach

Green Mosaic: Botanical Garden for Houston

Dutch landscape firm West 8 has recently planned a new botanical garden in Houston, Texas, featuring a mosaic of gardens and a bridge incorporating an arch of trees.

The Houston Botanic Garden will be on an area of  49 hectares, which is bordered by the Sims Bayou, a major waterway in Houston. West 8’s Master Plan takes its inspiration and structure from the existing site and gives forethought to the biggest environmental challenges: flooding and intense weather event. The design proposes lifting the existing topography to elevate the gardens and permanent structures out of the flood plain. With the water bodies as site-organizers, the Garden is divided into two main precincts: the “Island” and the “South Gardens”.

The “South Gardens” is the place of arrival for all visitors. It features an open lawn, which is a relaxing, day-to-day place for picnics and strolling, but also supports community events. A hike/bike trail extends along Glenview Drive, with a proposed section along Sims Bayou that would connect the Garden to the extensive network of Greater Houston hike and bike trails.  The Island will be dominated by gardens, both naturalistic and cultivated. These gardens provide year-round beauty, delight the senses, and educate young and old alike. A conservatory building extends the plant repertoire to provide a setting for exotic plants from tropical climates. Visitor-oriented amenities like educational facilities, an events pavilion, a café, and a lecture hall, are strategically located to provide destinations and provisions for guests. Construction of the first phase is slated to begin in 2018.

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Plant lamp: “Mygdal” from Nui Studio

Plants can’t thrive just anywhere: plant lovers have it especially difficult in dark places. The plant lamp of the German design duo Nui Studio offers new possibilities.

“Mygdal” utilises the physical similarity between sunlight and LED light. The Nui Studio designed the plant lamps in such a way that a completely autonomous ecosystem prevails indoors. The plant is inserted and surrounded by glass. It can now practice natural photosynthesis. As a homage to the Danish glassmaker Peter Kuchinke, the name of the lamp means “fertile earth“.

The plant lamp is equipped with an innovative glass coating, with which current is carried over the surface. This means that no other connection between the lamp and the power source is necessary. Thanks to the flexible power supply, “Mygdal” has versatile uses: as a hanging, floor or table lamp.

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Urban landscape: green project for Paris

The project “Réinventer Paris” is seeking new ideas for urban planning. The contribution of Jacques Ferrier Architecture and Chartier Dalix Architectes would like to significantly increase green space in the French capital.

“Reinventing Paris” is a project initiated by the city that hopes to give innovative ideas for the development of the metropolis a push. Architects and urban planners are invited to concern themselves with various locations in the capital, including the central ring road Boulevard Périphérique. For the connection from Paris to Neuilly, the partners Jacques Ferrier Architecture and Chartier Dalix Architectes are planning an unusually green project: a network of gardens and green areas should provide the framework for greened residential and office buildings and create space for public life.

The roofs of the expandable buildings should also be connected with one another and have lush roof gardens – a tea plantation is planned, among other things. Pavilions offer residents the possibility to work or relax, even at airy heights. In the interplay of urban landscape and greened development, the project should primarily show how greenery can be integrated even more intensively into the city and the life of Parisians. A school for urban horticulture planned for the area underlines this approach.

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Variable: plant objects by Frédéric Malphettes

The French designer Frédéric Malphettes designs unusual objects for the greening of outdoor areas. The special feature, besides the clever design, is also the multiple applications.

The new products of the French designer include the plant module “Vétagére” and the climbing support “Anno”. The latter consists of a geometric structure of metal elements that are fastened to the wall or ceiling. The individual elements can be freely combined in terms of their structure. “Anno” can thus be used for greening walls or as a climbing support in flowerpots or as decorative room dividers.

The modular object “Vetagéré” also offers a variety of possibilities for use. Flowerpots of varying heights made of fibre reinforced concrete can be combined to form a greened shelving unit. Shelving of light oak serve as connecting elements. “Vétagére” can be used in both private and public spaces. The plant shelving unit has several different functions on the balcony and patio: it can act as a divider between interior and exterior, screen individual areas or simply serve as a variable green object.

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Perfect for small spaces: “Connect A Pot”

“Connect A Pot“ by startup Desima is a triangular pot designed to grow plants in a small, compact area. Best of all: the special features that enhance the capability of the pot.

Connect a Pot (1)

Each pot is designed specifically to connect to the other via strong earth magnets. The magnets also mean the pots can attach to a wall, refrigerator, window and in some cases, a shower. There is also the option of using a chain to hang it.

Like all potted plants “Connect A Pot“ need soil and water. A perlite layer, resting between the soil and water, is included in the purchase. The perlite doubles as plant growth media and insulation. The perlite also acts as a microfilter, removing some of the unwanted particles from the water. Ken and Tina Dyer of Desima are excited about the prospects of “Connect A Pot” and have everything in order to start production. They have turned to crowdfunding site Kickstarter for help.

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