Sustainable air-filtration

Sustainable air-filtration
Friendly Filtering Spider Plant---clippings of the hanging new generation can be planted to make more!


We are a design lab based in Joshua Tree, California. Our purpose is to:
1) Look at plants as technology but from a human and creative perspective
2) Pursue the potential many plant species have for removing toxins and adding moisture to the breathing zones in our homes, offices, clinical spaces, and commercial spaces.
3) Encourage the co-habitation of plants and humans.
4) Increase the appeal of incorporating plants into our living spaces by applying good, sustainable design principles to existing methods of keeping houseplants.
5) Personalize the breathing zones of individuals based on their environmental health concerns such as benzene or formaldehyde exposure.
6) Re-imagine the kitchen’s tea cupboard and spice rack as a living resource.
7) Re-imagine the bathroom’s medicine cabinet as a living resource offering safer, lasting, fresher, and more holistic alternatives to many of the commercial items that are conventionally stocked in medicine cabinets at home.
8) Critically engage the ways in which plants can be used for aesthetic purposes in interior design.

In this pursuit we are currently developing the following design lines:
“Sustainable Air Filtration”
“Sustainable Humidity Maintenance”
“Living Medical Resource”
“Living Kitchen Resource”
“Built-In and Mobile Terrarium Installations”
“Interior Desert-scaping”

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Living Medical Resource Terrarium

The “Living Medical Resource” terrarium and open container garden prototypes use plants that have medicinal properties to supplement and potentially replace their pharmaceutical counterparts. Aloe Vera plants are used, for instance, to provide a living, growing, and safer alternative to the packaged burn cream that is normally kept in a medicine cabinet. Having a Living Medical Resource unit as a bathroom companion encourages the use of these healthful and holistic plants on a regular basis.

Desert Bounty Terrarium

The goal of the Desert Bounty project is to apply smart design to the problem of sustainable agriculture in desert and draught-prone climates. Accessibility to users both in the developed and underdeveloped worlds is one of our principle design priorities. The ability to grow food in dry, unpredictable climates is an increasing concern for our world as it is presented with devestating, tangible effects of climate change. Since we are situated directly in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California, we are directly challenged to come up with solutions for growing food in an extremely hot, sunny, dry climate. The main Desert Bounty project is constructing large acrylic enclosed growing boxes fed by mounted florescent lights to practice intensive produce cultivation. This design creates its own internal climate---one that with very little care, maintenance, or watering stays suitable for many food-producing plants. Faced with a quickly approaching desert summer here in Joshua Tree, CA (and more and more of the world will face similar challenges with desertification and a shifting climate), we have begun this project by designing a “Seed Room” which is equipped with low-hanging florescent lights over hundreds of trays of germinating seeds. The “Seed Room” is an extremely efficient design for starting seeds at home. Some of these seedlings will be transferred in Spring 2009 to the outdoor greenhouse we are currently designing using salvaged materials.

Sustainable Air Filtration Terrarium

The “sustainable air filtration” terrarium line uses plants chosen specifically for their ability to remove airborne toxins and emit pure, clean, bio-remediated air. The government agency NASA has conducted studies on this process to determine if detoxifying plants would be beneficial in space missions. Bill Wolverton, who was one of the scientists who conducted these studies, summarizes the results in his book How to Grow Fresh Air. The terrarium design we are developing utilizes many of the plants involved in those studies, maximizes these properties, minimizes the care and maintenance of these plants, and produces fresh air. The plants that are most efficient at removing airborne toxic chemicals are often also most efficient at transpiring moisture out of their leaves and stems, thus adding humidity to the air that is emitted from the terrarium unit. The “sustainable humidity maintenance” terrarium prototype was inspired by the extremely dry climate of Joshua Tree, CA.
These units take the place of noisy, costly, and polluting commercial air purifiers while providing many of the other benefits that come with cohabitating with plants. Several of our prototypes have custom fans and simple, controllable output valves so that the user can control the volume of air that is filtered by the terrarium. We are looking into methods of powering these vans with photovoltaic solar panels. Other prototypes have a simple lid that can be opened to expel fresh, humid air, and then closed again while the terrarium produces more clean air. These units have the potential to be used to combat asthma especially in urban areas where indoor air pollution is the greatest contributor to childhood asthma. They can be used to reduce exposure to these toxins which can lead to other major illnesses such as cancer and multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome. We are looking into any means of conducting small and large scale sociological and scientific experiments to examine the affects of the terrariums on users with and without such illnesses.

Monday, October 20, 2008

White Sands, NM

This is not the beach. This is the desert. This is a radiated playland.

Most Commonly Said in New Mexico: "THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL", "See any rattlesnakes?

Journey From East to West

HERES SOME CONTEXT: A month after I graduated college, I bought and modified a "weekender" camper van. As you can see, it is beautiful! Anna and I have been living in it since mid-July, winding our way from the east coast of Virginia, through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas. The van sat there for a while and I went to get my share of winter on a big family reunion cruise in Alaska. By that time, I had some sense of how campgrounds are used in this country and a sense of who lives in the south, what they do, and how they respond to people with Virginia liscense plates. When I came back from Alaska, I made that drive to Texas from Virginia again, but this time in 24 hours along the freeways of Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. After some time in east texas, we moved on to Houston, Austin, and then through the no-where lands of West Texas where 6 hour drives between gas stations seemed pretty normal. Marfa, TX was a great respite where we finally saw some Obama signs and some public art. Crossing the border patrol checkpoints and narcotics checkpoints in Southwest TX snuggling the border of Mexico, we finally made it to New Mexico which was the first place we considered settling to make some money and stretch out in something a little bigger than the van. Greeted by a rainbow in Las Cruses which was much more sprawling than I anticipated. The desert was also much higher than I expected. From there to the AMAZING white sands, to the sweet town of Roswell, to Albuquerque, and Santa Fe. We spent another while in Santa Fe and Albuquerque in a friendly house for a while and camped out in the driveway of some friends. Tired yet? So was I. My sister's wedding in Virginia crept up on us and we left the van in the Albuquerque airport parking lot and got on a jet. After the wedding festivities, we took a Greyhound bus (missing the van very much) to NYC to reunite with our friends. It got cold. Really cold. I spent some time in the blistering winds on fire escapes. I got ready for the low desert of California.