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INDUSTRIAL DESIGN FINALIST 2016/HANNELIE COETZEE

I have cast a modular vertical garden container out of concrete..

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I have cast a modular vertical garden container out of concrete/cement (Texcrete) that will serve as a prototype for an art commission to cover the facade of an office block. My public art has an environmental slant to it.

The container is a functional tile in which a plant can grow comfortably. It can be used to green buildings, cool or renovate both indoor and outdoor spaces with an integrated watering system.

The tiles fit in a diagonal grid to maximise water flow. On a micro design level, water droplets accumulate and are funnelled in a similar way to how the Namib Beetle does it in the desert.

Insulation with a waterproof bonding layer will separate the micro-climate of the plants from the wall. This process doubles up as an option to renovate an old wall that needs to be repaired or waterproofed.

An environmental scientist or landscape architect specialising in pot plants will consult on which plants to use, and in which conditions. The information can be made available for people who buy this product, in a DIY publication. On large-scale installations, a structural engineer can sign it off.

The reason I am developing this prototype is to satisfy the demand for vertical gardens made with a sturdy, functional and easy-to-use product and to further develop the current technology, whose results can be fickle. For the office building facade mentioned above, I will develop this technology in order to plant a large-scale pixelated image, with the plants being colour-coded to soften the old, straightforward approach to concrete.

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