Mankind is increasingly leaving nature behind, migrating to concrete jungles where green space is at a premium. Yet urban dwellers will always long for a connection to the earth: we build parks, protect nature reserves, and grow gardens. We've become adept at shaping nature to fit our multiple spaces and lifestyles.
The installation explores integrating nature into the city and was sited at the Beautiful Alternative Apparel Shop in Soho that offer multiple vantage points from the street, sidewalk and in-store. The shop has a large storefront window that offers ample vertical real estate and takes cues of the urban fabric to explore a suspended park system that utilizes Plant-in City's modular micro-ecosystem that integrates terrariums, lighting, water, sound that is activated by embedded environmental sensors. The irrigation system pumps water to the peak of the installation and drips through a series of the micro-environments to keep plants and moss happy.
The project dives into sustainable design practices and materials that utilizes locally sourced walnut from upstate New York, LED lighting technology, green finishing materials and other re-purposed components. The unit is automated with a programmed arduino (micro-controller) that auto-fogs based on a humidity sensor within the system. All pieces are fabricated in Brooklyn, New York City. It was a sensory, experience that activates, visual, sound and smell and touches on conversations that link to larger geo-political issues of sustainable design and architecture and innovative movement such as the smart city, home and in this case the smart garden.
Hanging Garden Perspectivelighting fixture, plant-in mini blocks, floating landscapes of moss. Kokedama's suspendedDominc Neitz
Sectional Analysis of SystemIrrigation System and contentsHuy Bui - collage of Dominic Neitz Photograph
Detail Shot of GardenOpen Terrarium, moss, ferns, and Plant-In MINI block floating aboveDominic Neitz
Inside the TerrariumFog / Mist roll down the gentle moss topographyHuy Bui
Hanging GardenInterior Architecture blending in with neighboring site geometryDominic Neitz
Hardware & Software ArchitectureInternet of PlantsCarlos J. Gómez de Llarena
Terrarium BlockThis block system host air plants, Kokedama and moss. Water permeates through the structures and copper wire balances. Dominic Neitz
Alternative Apparel / Plant-In City OpeningEco Apparel meets Built EnviornmentAlternative Apparel
Hanging Garden InstallationAlternative Apparel
Plant-In MINI TerrariumSingle Unit Building Block - can be stacked or integrated into a modular unit system.Dominic Neitz
View from the StreetDominic Neitz
Scouting ReportOpenings and Mentions NYTimes 10/16/2014NY Times
The intent of the project is an opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaborations in the field of sustainable design. Sustainability applies to all fields of design and the relationship between architecture and fashion represents polar and contrasting elements. We need to ask questions, about how things are made, who makes them and value their intrinsic quality of things made well. To be aware of link-minded entities joining on the cause is reassuring for a community that faces insurmountable challenges with the environment. We need to ask about how we consume, this begins with the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the objects and plant-life we bring into our lives. This mindful consumption, is a step towards living a new paradigm of living.
Green architecture has been misconstrued and branded in ways that are not always authentic. We understand the complexities of a sustainable design and it is our commitment to reveal the richness in this process, materials, and one must understand that it takes a community to live this lifestyle. It takes the complete vertical chain of production, retail and a commitment to a social brand identity to convey a culture of a sustainability.
Internet of Plants
perhaps the invisible hand of sustainability will come from technology. It is the desire for a self-regulating system to maintain our "indoor" nature that has introduced us to the world of environmental senors. These senors can be programmed to react to a number of environmental conditions, such as light exposure, sonar, humidity, soil moisture level, sound. These conditions can be programmed to activate irrigation of water, heating and cooling of systems. It can also expand to more creative possibilities and extend to our mobile devices. Technology is a powerful tool but it is not the end all be all. We believe the best technology is invisible, but at the very least, it has grab the attention of many technocrats into the space of urban "smart" gardening. We'll be happy to introduce this idea to all walks of live, regardless of their original intent or agenda.
is a men and women's apparel organization with a focus on basics in soft simple and sustainable fabrics. One of the company's goals is to share their core values of sustainable design and grow with a community of like-minded partners, designers and artist for collaborations and projects. The apparel company recently opened a shop in Lower Manhattan on Lafayette St., near Houston St. It serves as a showroom that expresses their brand experimentally through physical space. The company host events, such as yoga classes, talks and artist exhibitions to deepen their relationship with the local community. They discovered Plant-In City at the Sight Unseen Offsite last May in 2014 and were immediately drawn to the play between architecture and nature and wanted to have that idea at their shop. Their primary exhibition space / window display area is limited in floor space but ample in height and volume and features an 8' x 10' glass window and space that is visible from all angles of Lafayette St. The vision was to create an installation that expresses an idea about we live can live a more sustainable lifestyle. The convergence of identity and brand is at play between client and artist.
The Plant-In City Vertical Garden Installation
explores the environmental elements in many different ways. We look space as a one of our most scarce resources. It's a finite resource and is a complex commodity and the value of storefront space as at a premium and felt the best way to maximize this volume is to suspend the hanging garden system from the top of the space. There are so many strategies to utilize sustainable practices, we like the idea of using green roofs in architecture and apply moss that is embedded into the terrariums which soak runoff water and creating cool humid micro-zones. We use drip irrigation to provide moisture and moves with the natural forces of gravity. We use LED lights, which has been pioneering the global energy conservation movement. The installation was pre-fabricated in Brooklyn and installed within 48 hours. It is essentially a pop-up garden, and pushed a logistical feat of creating an instant lush landscape. We chose to work with American Walnut that was locally sourced from upstate new york and donated by New York Heartwoods. The lumber was also cutoffs and end-cuts from the waste from their shop. All Plant-In City wood pieces are finished with water based "green" to protect the wood. We consider this project, as all-things-local, diving deeper into the sustainability quotient.
We approach this installation like pre-fabricated housing for a plant-based ecosystem. There can be a standard of a kit of parts, where the end-user can define how they would want this integrated into their site specific home/office or retail installations. The modular nature of the architecture lends it's self to infinite possibilities of scale, height and etc.. We look to keep our software programming open source, so other hackers and designers can participate in the design development.
Sustainability is Beautiful, Bold and Seductive
We all understand the significance of conservation and being mindful about how and why we utilize our resources but we are missing an important element about the nature of human beings. We have a hedonistic quality that cannot be ignored and we must find a way to play into this . At Plant-In City, beauty and aesthetics is important to us, and from our experience it is has an enormous capacity to capture one's attention and influence the way we consume and live. We believe beauty is a necessity for the soul, not just a luxury. This installation brings, beauty, nature, new ways of living to the storefront of Alternative Apparel. It starts at a grassroots level, and it will take a thriving community to make significant progress for a culture to embrace these issues. We hope to make sustainability an invisible element in our design and it becomes the status quo.
The hanging garden installation is an example of how big ideas come in small interventions. We believe sustainability can be be beautiful, seductive and can inspire a new way of thinking and living.
Engages people in an urban setting
It brings nature to the city and uses smart thinking to present the idea of sustainable issues and growth. It engages people in an urban setting about how they can use agriculture.