Research & Design

The technology of the terraplanter is based on the connection between the structure, the material, and the plant itself.

THE VISION. The core idea was to create a new home for plants. It needed to be simple, clean, low-maintenance and hydroponic - without the use of any soil or dirt. Combining the idea of hydroponics and the concept of porous material was the key. We created a ceramic material that has just the right amount of porosity and hygroscopic tendencies to allow water to diffuse through the material and allow the plant to grow on the surface of the material.

DESIGNING FOR PLANTS. We wanted to design a piece that was aesthetically beautiful but it also needed to serve a function; it needed to be a good home for plants. For this we needed to produce a complex shape for the surface of the terraplanter to meet the needs of the plants. It needed to:

  • Hold seeds on the surface while they sprouted.
  • Hold water for plant roots to drink.
  • Provide a shape and texture that would allow plant roots to grip the surface.

We used parametric design to create the shape we envisioned, and created several prototypes to test with seeds and plants. After testing we always find something that can be improved, so it’s back to refining the code and algorithm in the parametric design and fine tune the design to get to the optimal solution for plants to thrive.

“From nature inspired design to design inspired nature.”
- Neri Oxman

HOW IT WORKS. The terraplanter is a vessel that acts as a water bank. The water is held in the vessel and is slowly diffused through the material to the cells on the surface for the plant to drink.

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