Don’t you just love it when design drives itself across certain thresholds? Since we primarily review “product” here at 3rings, I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking design is only about a sleek and stylish sofa or a particularly palpable wallcovering. To the contrary—I’m frequently reminded—design often transgresses those boundaries between the built environment and the “lived-in” environment, providing the world not only with more inviting chairs to sit in, but also innovative ideas about how we can adapt to changing circumstance and still exist in relative comfort.
Kitchen Nano Garden. Designed by Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Gromo.
The Kitchen Nano Garden by Hyundai Engineering and Construction and Gromo is one such creature. Bronze winner at the Fast Company 2010 Idea awards in the category of commercial and industrial product, the Kitchen Nano Garden promises an accomplishment that has historically eluded even Mother Nature: a vibrant, green garden of comestibles sans the assistance of either sunlight or rain.
If the prospect seems like merely some cleverly-phrased misdirection, I say au contraire, for Kitchen Nano Garden is very real, I assure you. All it takes (took) is some ingeniously-tiered metal shelving; some climate-controlled, glass-walled miniature compartments; a handful of purposefully-directed lumens; and the relative miracle of indoor plumbing. The concept—which owes its fruition to Hyunjung Lee, Jaeyong Park, Changjin Shon and Seulki Park (of Hyundai), and Ill-woong Kwon (of Gromo)—employs the technology of hydroponics in a more, ahem, utilitarian manner than I’m accustomed to seeing.
The key is the degree of control users have over the typically unpredictable elements of rain and sun: “Light, water and nutrient supply is controllable, so users can decide the growth speed… It also lets users know when to provide water or nutrients to the plants.” And, beyond the obvious bounty of fragrant basil and jaunty watercress (literally right next to the kitchen, an additional boon is the re-invention of “eau d’apartment,” for Nano Kitchen also works to naturally purify the air, leaving your cramped studio redolent with the smell of freshly sprouted greens.