Inspired by the total lack of vegetation in the South Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn where designers Huy Bui and Jon Schramm of HB Collaborative live and work, the two partnered with Carlos Gomez of media architecture firm med44 to take the natural world into their own hands. The result: Plant-in City, a nearly self-sufficient interactive plant environment that incorporates intelligent architecture, a stunning design and advanced computer technology.
Functioning as a stand-alone piece or as part of a stackable unit, these cedar wood boxes incorporate LED bulbs to provide uniform light; and a copper plumbing system, comprised of a water tank, solenoid valve and irrigation to create a natural rain effect when watering.
Eventually – though no one on the team would attempt to say when - this “performative” art piece will yield a consumer product. As they advance the technology and design, the collaborators also plan to release open source software and share hardware blueprints with the public; the latter so third parties can develop their own architectural add-ons.
“We’re almost treating the art project as the research and development process. Then, as a product we can just take two or three components out of that and it becomes a regular terrarium where you can water your plants,” says Bui. "People are already thinking about plants and architecture and technology, but to wrap it in one project that’s flexible and mobile and interesting hadn’t been done before."