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.

Further information: nui-studio.com

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.

Further information: fredericmalphettes.com

Plantable Objects: “Seed” by Taeg Nishimoto

There is a new way to make your home greener: Plant green on the wall! The Architect and Designer Taeg Nishimoto has invented “Seed” – objects to be hung on the wall incorporating small plants as the focus.

The container part of the soil for the plant is attached in the back, lifting the concrete tile of “Seed” about 2cm to 4.5cm from the wall, giving the presence of the tile floating in front of the wall. “Seed” comes in many variations of profile and surface texture. Each profile is taken from different river stones’ outline, which is a result of a long smoothing process the stones go through in water flow of the river.

“Seed” is made of fast drying cast concrete using the crumpled Tyvek as the mold. The Tyvek is first crumpled to create a particular crease pattern and stretched inside the cut out of the profile. The spontaneous crumpling pattern of paper is totally unpredictable, and yet it evokes certain geological formations we observe in the satellite images. Concrete mix is poured with about 5mm – 8mm thick while the center of the Tyvek is lifted to make a hole. Any plant that can fit inside the hole can be used, though various different kinds of succulents are great for it.

Further information: cargocollective.com

Air Bonsai: Levitating Magnetic Miniature Plants

Air Bonsai and you grow your own floating plant.

A Japanese company takes the ancient art of Bonsai into the 21st century. Air Bonsai consists of a plant vessel (aka “little star”) made of moss or lava stone and a porcelain base (aka “energy base”). Built-in magnets allow the “little star” to float and rotate 2 centimeters above the “energy base”. The plant vessel can hold a maximum weight of 300 grams allowing for a variety of plant types from a traditional “Matsu” pine to a flowering “Sakura”.

Just as with classic bonsai, the planting of this special construction, probably also requires careful handling and attentiveness. Since the magnets are quite sensitive, a certain balance is needed until it finally gets floating.

Producer Hikaru Hoshi hopes the Air Bonsai becomes a catalyst to promote the traditional Japanese art form of bonsai to the modern generation through its unique presentation. Hikaru believes the recipient of an Air Bonsai could feel the “kokoro” (heart) of Japanese culture and the deep appreciation of nature.

Considering that the Kickstarter campaign has already collected the multiple of the funding goal, the Air Bonsai should be available at the end of the year.

Further information: kickstarter.com or watch this video

Power to the Plants

Researchers have discovered a method of integrating electric circuits into living plants.

The Rosa floribunda, also known as garden rose, is one of the most popular flowers in the world. Its delicate beauty not only enhances every place it is planted in, it is also a guarantee to bring a smile to any face when gifted. A rose never needed some kind of usability because it is just fine as it is. “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”, as it was said by Gertrude Stein.

Nevertheless, scientists from the Linköping University in Sweden have experimented with this particular flower and found a technique that may change the way we look at and use plants in the future. For the first time ever, the biologists have successfully merged the inner structures of flowers with electronics. This could open up new ways of interacting with and utilizing plants.

Just like any other organic life form, plants use chemical signals to regulate their body functions and their growth. Their structures of transmitting energy and information can be compared to the workings of electronic circuits. Mechanical wires that are used to let electricity flow from one point to another work analogous to the vascular system of a plant’s roots, stem and leaves.

The scientists were able to integrate an artificial structure into plants that makes it possible to transmit electric signals. They did this by feeding their garden rose a soluble polymer, a chain of molecules that is able to conduct electricity. The rose took up this polymer just like it would take up the colour in dyed water. With help of its own ions, the plant then created a sort of wire system within its body.

The discovery of this method makes it possible to work with plants like they were electronic devices. Sensors could be built into them, giving us information about its physiology in great detail. It would also be possible to optimize plants other than with genetics and to harvest the energy created by photosynthesis. Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose is an electric generator?

Further information: advances.sciencemag.org