Ikea's latest flatpack design is not available instore, but plans can be downloaded from the web ©Rasmus Hjortshøj
Ikea's latest flatpack design is not available instore, but plans can be downloaded from the web ©Rasmus Hjortshøj

Urban feeding room from the flatpack king

20 April 2017

Ikea has developed a build-your-own structure that will help urban communities to grow much of their own food.

Ikea’s research hub Space10 has been looking into ways to expand urban farming, building on the trend of cities feeding themselves and helping to fend off a global food shortage.

It has been adopting the latest developments in technologies such as artificial lights and computerised automation to nourish plants precisely while reducing water use, waste and carbon footprint. And out of all this work, the flatpack king created a big grow-your-own community kit.

The Growroom is a 2.8 x 2.5 metre ball-shaped garden for herbs and vegetables. It is made out of plywood and has space inside to sit, tend the plants and just enjoy the ambience of urban foliage.

The research hub, with the help of Swedish architects Mads-Ulrik Husum and Sine Lindholm, designed the ‘urban farm pavilion’ for inner city communities to grow their own tasty, healthy food using few chemicals. Being much closer to the point of consumption, the food would be fresher, and transport requirements greatly reduced. One of the main challenges was that traditional farming takes up a lot of space, said the designers, and space is a scare resource in urban environments.

"We envision a future where we grow much more food inside our cities. Food producing architecture could enable us to do so," said Carla Cammilla Hjort, director of Space10.

The Growroom was first exhibited to show what could be done, but then people started asking to buy it. “It empowers people to grow their own food much more locally in a beautiful and sustainable way,” said the designers.

To stay true to the sentiment of the product and avoid shipping cut pieces of ply around the world to Ikea stores, Space10 released an open source Growroom construction template, encouraging people to buy the materials locally. This, of course, means that the budding urban farmers should find a local laser cutting tool or milling machine before putting it together it themselves.

Find the plan and instructions at bit.ly/GrowroomIkea

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