Friday, May 21, 2010

designing our future and an ultimate homage to the seed - The Seed Cathedral

A favourite design idea I found last year from the Netherlands were these string gardens.
There seem to be such innovative people coming from there! See the May 12 post on this blog for other creatives out of the Netherlands! String gardens appealed on many levels - even the name! I exchanged a few words with the designer when posting this at my other blog last October. Also check out

Some would be rather horrified I guess at how far this takes you from the regular concept of a garden - but part of the fascination for me is that intensifies the relationship in front of your eyes of seed to soil to the plant's growth cycles and there even seems to be a grave yard for old string gardens. I think they might be better suited to a cooler climate that here and also need a bit of horticultural know-how to keep them flourishing. That aside I am bowled over by the concept of these because of the way they expose the growth cycle at eye level. Has any one out there tried something similar to this successfully?

Have a look at this wonderful series of videoed string gardens here. Charming! And from the red-light district below - a show by Fedor van der Valk - the creator of string gardens! Its a great website I promise!

I wrote last week on the way designers are rethinking the future emphasising it's not all about the uber-fabulous and drop-dead expensive genre of 'new design' for new's sake. There is a great deal of ingenuity being applied to even the most humble of everyday items - see 3 of last year's finalists in the following design competition below for proof of that. What I'm posting here is the call for designers the world over to enter a Korean Design Competition - its free to enter - and it seems the integrity of the idea is what's important rather than the length of one's design CV. 

C A L L - F O R - E N T R I E S
Incheon Metropolitan City, KOREA,together with designboom promotes an international design competition.
participation is open to applicants from every country in the world,
to professionals, students, and design-enthusiasts.
free of charge registration required.

iiida 2010 is hosted by Incheon Metropolitan City and organized by Incheon Business Agency.
sponsors of this competition are:
Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Republic of Korea,
Korea Institute of Design Promotion,
Incheon Industrial Design Association
Incheon Design Company Association.

01 - the subject of the international competition is 
green heartiida 2010 calls out for fresh and new design proposals to be made by designers with green hearts.
being aware of the environment is a joyful way to give sustainable change to daily city living.
designers with a passion for preserving the environment are asked to suggest a future where
humans and nature can coexist. as such, we welcome the participation of competent
world designers in iida 2010, with the goal of generating new possibilities
for sustainability through design.
iida 2010 seeks entries in the following three categories:

1 - green design for humans- life style design which help realize ways to consider the environment in daily life
- daily goods, home appliances, lighting, furniture, stationery, home devices, car, packaging, etc.

2 - green design for the city- innovative and effective public design which suggests the possibility of an eco-friendly city
- architecture, interior design, road, public area, park, urban planning, urban infrastructure, etc.

3 - green design for communication- design taking lead in social communication for the diffusion of green design and green life style
- poster, video, advertisement, illustration, campaign, software, mass media, networking, etc. 

read more at and at iida 2010

Click to enlarge to read about some finalists from last year:

A pretty amazing concept - the rocking actually powers the light attached to the chair.

A new approach to eating locally - these plates bring it all home!

...well thats humble for you - and why I say designers aren't sticking to the WOW items to put their efforts to work. I have a brother who's quick to remind that some of the smallest inventions have generated considerable wealth. 

I found this and other great stories at INHABITAT.COM . By going to search categories in the sidebar and choosing botanical I pulled up a fascinating series of projects - but of course had to go no further than this one below due to its definitive nature and relevance to this Homage to the Seed blog!

 and now...

Introducing the extraordinary "Seed Cathedral" - the UK pavillion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo - which contains seeds from the Millennium Seed Bank and I like to think some of those seeds may have perhaps orginated in Queensland and passed through the Seed lab at Mt Coot-tha!

Shanghai Expo 2010, thomas heatherwick, uk pavilion, sustainable design, green design, sustainable architecture, green building, seed bank, pincushion building, porcupine building

Nicknamed the “Dandelion”, Thomas Heatherwick’s UK Pavilion bristles with a dynamic facade that gently flexes and shimmers with each passing breeze. The beautiful building envelope blurs the boundaries between architecture and animated sculpture, while the area surrounding the pavilion features a network of pedestrian walkways and a landscaped park area.

Shanghai Expo 2010, thomas heatherwick, uk pavilion, sustainable design, green design, sustainable architecture, green building, seed bank, pincushion building, porcupine building

Nestled within the sprouting facade of seeds is an otherworldly interior that unfolds like a shimmering network of stars. During the day the interior is completely lit by daylight channeled through the structure’s transparent rods. At night the interior is illuminated by minute lighting elements contained within each rod for an amazing effect.

The brilliant bristling structure you see above is not the world’s largest pincushion – it’s Thomas Heatherwick’s recently completed UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Dubbed the “Seed Cathedral”, the six-story high structure is studded with 60,000 translucent rods that act as fiber-optic filaments that channel sunlight into the pavilion’s interior. The densely-packed forest of filaments also contains the impetus to create living forests in the future — each 7.5 meter long “branch” contains seeds from the Millenium Seed Bank that will be given to China one the expo has run its course.

Read more: Construction Complete on the UK's Stunning Seed Cathedral | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World  All text from this article on Inhabitat.


ellie said...

Those string gardens are amazing. beautiful.
Thank you for sharing.

Altoon Sultan said...

What marvelous things you find, Sophie! the string gardens are stunning. I think they might have gotten their idea from epiphytes, which are plants that grow on trees or other plants, taking their nutrients from the air and the rain. The British pavilion is amazing and beautiful too.

sophie munns said...

Hi Ellie,
glad you found your way to this post then -they are so captivating... hope you had a moment to see the website... loved the videos...very, very quirky but wonderful!

Hi Altoon,
interesting what you suggest about the epiphytes.... it is reminiscent of something in the back of my mind...they are indeed stunning!
The pavillion I've seen the odd thing about over the past while...but these photos are excellent. The first one - anartists impression - actually reminds me of how some seeds are encased in a semi-transparent pod and they have this certain aura of being something substantial enclosed within!

Janis said...

Hi Sophie, I agree - it seems like a lot of innovative thinkers come from the Netherlands :^)
And those gardens! I get an other worldly, futuristic feeling from them ... how amazing life is!
xo, j.

sophie munns said...

So lovely to have you visit at Homage Janis!
Things like this really underline the amazing element I agree!
That some minds can come up with something so curious and effective and poetic too! Its good to be reminded not everything beens done yet...there is a lot more to come we cant even imagine!
S x

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