How the Interactive Art Project “Plant-in City” may Change How We Take Care of Plants

by: Veronique Hoebeke

June 30, 2012

The natural world and the new digital age seem like two things that would be at odds with each other. Yet, in the case of Huy Bui, Carlos Gomez and Jon Schramm’s art project “Plant-in City,” the two worlds fit together seamlessly. The “Plant-in City” project began when one of the founders wondered if it was possible to water plants via an iPhone or laptop. From there, the group of three architects and designers developed modern terrariums made out of frames of woods which have sensors to detect the plants’ healthy state. The sensors monitor the air humidity, the level of light and the moisture in the ground. These levels can be seen and controlled on an iPhone or computer, from anywhere around the Globe, whether it is from a downtown office or resort in Tahiti.

Plant-in City Kickstarter, Wild Mag

The frames that hold the plants, contain fresh soil, an irrigation system and LED lights which provide a steady and reliable light source. The terrarium designs range from the simple to the extreme. Some plants are grounded in soil from the base of rectangular frame while others are suspended from wire up off the ground growing in vegetational heaps. Plants that grown in cliff or mountain settings do not need soil to grow allowing the designers at “Plant-in City” to use them in these visually stunning works of art.

The future goal of this project is to create a Green City for these plants where people around the world can have a hand in controlling the plants’ environment making sure they have all they need to be as healthy as possible. The creators of the “Plant-in City” have a fondness for plants, they appreciate the clean air they provide us but they have noticed one flaw with plants: “On the downside, they need regular care, and they’re lousy communicators.” “Plant-in City” is a project that has a found a solution for this problem. With their interactive art they have been able to give plants a voice so their care has not only become simplified but beautiful.

Through the help of those on Kickstarter, the “Plant-in City” Project exceeded their goal of 25,000 dollars to further their research and development of this growing project.

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