Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 30, 2012.

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Living, modular, sculptural 21st century terrariums for discovering new ways to interact with plants.

Plant-in City is an art installation that takes terrariums to the 21st Century.  

The Vision

We are creating a large-scale interactive art installation, a "Green City," where plants populate stackable structures inside a gallery space in Manhattan. Our goal is to raise funds to buy materials and develop technology needed to complete this project. 

In our installation we envision a dense, lush skyline, where water flows from one terrarium to another. Visitors to the space enter an immersive environment. Sounds of plants echo in their ears. Vibrant rays of light articulate every nuance of beauty that the eye can see.

We're creating a space where a community who loves architecture, technology and plants can meet. Our mission is to integrate these disciplines into a new paradigm that changes the way we live and interact with nature. We believe that interacting with plants will improve our lives.

Plant-in City - Illustration of the first "Green City"

How it Works 

Plant-in City taps into the natural systems that foster plant life to give the plants themselves a voice. This revolutionary planter system contains built-in sensors that are activated by sun exposure, changes in soil moisture, humidity, temperature, and other natural cycles. Once activated, these sensors translate the environmental data into sounds or visuals, creating an imaginary vibrant wilderness.

Plant-in City - Concept Illustration - FRAME with embedded sensors

The Hardware: A system of stacked or interconnected planter frames equipped with an embedded microcomputer (Arduino) and a series of sensors that detect changes in light, soil moisture, temperature, etc. We currently have three types of frames in our system: 

  • Soil FRAME: the base planter unit that contains soil plants and sensors.
  • Light FRAME: a unit with embedded LED lighting and provides a uniform and pleasant light.
  • Water FRAME: consists of a water tank, solenoid valve and copper tubing irrigation system that provides a natural rain effect when watering plants.

12" x 48" - Light FRAME - Soil FRAME - Irrigation FRAME ($3500 Pledge) 

The Technology

Our innovative design utilizes hardware and software solutions to provide plants with most of the care they need to thrive.

 

iPhone and Arduino: the technology powering Plant-in City.

The Software: The Arduino connects the frames to the web linking the sensors and control systems for water and light. These enable you to remotely connect to the Plant-in City using a mobile web app to check the plants’ vital signs and control lights or other systems and even water them.

Demonstration of our water FRAME irrigation system being controlled by the iPhone.

Open Source

We plan to release our source code to the public as we develop our hardware and software designs. We are also looking into the release of hardware design blueprints so that we can invite third parties to develop their own hardware add-ons for the Plant-in City system. 

Our Kickstarter Plan

Using the funds we raise through this Kickstarter, we will create our first large scale Plant-in City installation in a New York gallery (location TBC). With the amount we have budgeted we can buy materials, electronics and plants to build it. 

We have prototypes for the majority of these components and interactions. However, a significant amount of work still needs to be done in order to build all the new frames and develop the interactive experiences further. 

After we are done with this production and development stage, all of the FRAMES we build as a result of this campaign will come together to create an immersive architecture full of plants, sounds, lights and data.

Pledge Rewards

$15 Pledge: Set of hand built cedar blocks (15 units ea. aprox.)

$25 Pledge: Set of hand built cedar magnets (5 units ea. aprox.).

$75 Pledge: LED Light Fixture.

$250 Pledge: 12" light cube FRAME.

$500 Pledge: 12" light cube FRAME with custom landscape.

$800 Pledge: Three Day, Two Stay in NYC. Vacation with Plant-in City
$1500 Pledge: Cedar LED Chandelier

$1,000 Pledge: 12" x 24" x 18" light FRAME with custom landscape.

$3,500 Pledge: 12" x 48" x 18" soil, light and water FRAMES with custom landscape.

$7,500 Pledge: Customized Plant-in City architectural installation commission for your location of choice.  7-10 units per installation based on FRAME types selected.  

Note: Currently, we are not selling the Plant-in City until our R&D phase is complete. However, if you donate $250 or more to our campaign, we will build a working prototype FRAME for you. This FRAME will also be included in the Plant-in City installation at the end of our campaign. Donate and become a vital building block in our Plant-in City installation!

About Us

We are a group of New York City-based architects, designers, and developers with a vision. We want to establish a new design practice focused on supporting our relationship with plants through flexible, open-source architecture, media, and technology solutions.

We are a joint collaboration between *HB* Collaborative and Med44 of New York City.

*HB* Collaborative is four-year-old design/build studio based in New York City. We work on retail, restaurant, interior, and furniture design as well as on design for art installations.

Med44 is an award-winning ten-year-old media architecture studio focused on art installations, the blending of physical and digital experiences, as well as commercial interaction design for web, mobile, and environments.

Special Thanks To:

Sasu Ripatti (aka Vladislav Delay) for allowing us to use the song "Narri" in our video. 

MAKE magazine & Luke Iseman for their excellent Arduino gardening tutorials which helped us accelerate this project.

FAQ

  • We have plans to create a city that is 100% powered by passive energy (Solar, Wind, Water) by integrating them into our FRAME system. The energy will be used to power all LED lights and software systems and other energy requirements.

    There is potential for plants to be a viable source of energy and we are interested in harnessing it through new technologies and methods.

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  • We use LED flexible light strips and waiting for a grow light version to come to market. If you know of an existing manufacturer, please let us know

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  • This project provides the FRAME work and it is up to the end-user to grow what they wish and landscape any design that suits their imagination

    Last updated:
  • We are in design development stages of integrating it into the system. As a proof of concept we have already tested the viability of it and looking forward to releasing it sometime later this year.

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  • Not right now, we plan on including them when we accommodate a more diverse plant population.

    Last updated:
355
Backers
$26,985
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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    56 backers

    You get a postcard invitation to the opening of the installation. Your name will be added on the supporters page of our website.

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  • Pledge $15 or more
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    45 backers

    You get a miniature scaled version of the Plant-in City cedar building blocks. Set comes with 15 pieces. •PLUS: A postcard invitation to the opening of the installation and your name will be added on the supporters page of our website.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    94 backers

    You get a set of miniature cedar magnet FRAMES hand built in our studio. •PLUS: A postcard invitation to the opening of the installation and your name will be added on the supporters page of our website.

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    25 backers

    You get a PDF catalog of all the FRAMES we build, and a selection of our plant sound samples. •PLUS: A postcard invitation to the opening of the installation and your name will be added on the supporters page of our website

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    20 backers All gone!

    You get a LIMITED EDITION LED Light Fixture hand built in our studio. •PLUS: A postcard invitation to the opening of the installation, your name will be added on the supporters page of our website, and a set of miniature cedar magnets.

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    28 backers Limited (72 left of 100)

    You get a printed book documenting all the FRAMES we build as well as our creative process (sketches, prototypes and photos of the finalized installation). •PLUS: You also get a selection of our plant sound samples and a postcard invitation to the opening of the installation. Your name will be added on the supporters page of our website.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    15 backers All gone!

    You get a limited edition 12" light cube FRAME hand built in our studio. •PLUS: You get a printed book documenting all the FRAMES we build as well as our creative process (sketches, prototypes and photos of the finalized installation). You also receive a selection of our plant sound samples and a postcard invitation to the opening of the installation. Your name will be added on the supporters page of our website.

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    Dinner reservations to Plant-Forward, an interactive dining experience by Chez Jose. •PLUS: You get a limited edition 12" light cube FRAME hand built in our studio.

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    3 backers Limited (4 left of 7)

    You get a limited edition 12" light cube FRAME with a unique landscape design hand built in our studio. •PLUS: You get a printed book documenting all the FRAMES we build as well as our creative process (sketches, prototypes and photos of the finalized installation). You also receive a selection of our plant sound samples and a postcard invitation to the opening of the installation. Your name will be added on the supporters page of our website.

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  • Pledge $800 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    You get accommodations for a Three Day, Two Night stay in New York City. Our Plant-in City terrariums will be at home at this destination for your enjoyment in a stunning architectural gem: two-bedroom loft with solarium, right in the heart of Manhattan, sleeps up to five people. See our exciting project in person and experience the restaurants, bars and shops of Soho and the tree lined blocks and boutiques of Nolita and the East Village. Photo of this fantastic space below! Please message us for additional details, airfare not included.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    4 backers Limited (1 left of 5)

    You get a limited edition 12" x 24" x 18" light FRAME with a unique landscape design hand built in our studio. You are invited to come by our Brooklyn studio for a personal tour of the work in progress. •PLUS: You get a printed book documenting all the FRAMES we build as well as our creative process (sketches, prototypes and photos of the finalized installation). You also receive a selection of our plant sound samples and a postcard invitation to the opening of the installation. Your name will be added on the supporters page of our website.

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  • Pledge $1,500 or more
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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    You get a hand built Plant-in City Chandelier. This luminous Cedar and LED fixture will float elegantly in any room. •PLUS: You get a printed book documenting all the FRAMES we build as well as our creative process (sketches, prototypes and photos of the finalized installation). You also receive a selection of our plant sound samples and a postcard invitation to the opening of the installation. Your name will be added on the supporters page of our website.

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  • Pledge $3,500 or more
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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    You get a limited edition 12" x 48" x 18" Plant-in City system consisting of a soil, light and water FRAMES with a unique landscape design hand built in our studio. You are invited to an exclusive farm-to-table dinner party hosted by us (location TBA). •PLUS: You get a printed book documenting all the FRAMES we build as well as our creative process (sketches, prototypes and photos of the finalized installation). You also receive a selection of our plant sound samples and a postcard invitation to the opening of the installation. Your name will be added on the supporters page of our website.

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  • Pledge $7,500 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    You get a custom Plant-in City architecture designed and hand built in our studio according to your specifications and for your plants 7-10 units.* •PLUS: You get a printed book documenting all the FRAMES we build as well as our creative process (sketches, prototypes and photos of the finalized installation). You also receive a selection of our plant sound samples and a postcard invitation to the opening of the installation. Your name will be added on the supporters page of our website. *Budget for project fees and construction materials only—does not include travel expenses, plant purchases or shipping and handling of materials to your location.

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Funding period

- (41 days)