Photos: Chris Chapman website
Chris Chapman is an early twenties British designer, who baulked at the idea of studying design to make "pretty things for wealthy, privileged consumers." So he changed tack and learnt design-for-sustainability instead. He now has a quiver of cool green projects ready to fling at prospective clients or employers.
The one that most captured our attention was his Roll-Out Veg Mat. Each season householders buy a new roll of corrugated cardboard impregnated with vegetable seeds. Simply roll out the cardboard and cover with soil. Presto! Near instant veggie garden. It's simplicity could even push the No-Dig Garden for uncomplicated elegance.
As to how effective it would be in the real world remains to be seen. But Chris' idea shows that he understands that some of the hurdles to going green have nothing to politics. Oftentimes they come down to simply not having the available hours in the day to make good things happen.
The Roll-Out Veg Mat addresses this conundrum head on, by envisaging other ways to cultivate home gardens brimming with produce, without need of too much labour intensive work.
It's not a totally new idea. Greeting cards and envelopes have been tried before. Many such products possibly owing some nod of acknowledgement to Victor Papanek, the father of responsible design or ecodesign, who in 1968 worked with a team to make flat pack, seed-impregnated manmade tumbleweed. Dropped from aircraft the arms of the seed pod would deploy, and having hooks on its arms would bind together hundreds, maybe thousands of these biodegradable plastic burrs. Soil would be dammed and soil erosion reduced. Into the accumulated soil would germinate the burr's impregnated seed and life would flourish in deserts and degraded lands. At least, in theory.
And so to it is with Chris Chapman's clever Roll-Out Veg Mat. A nice idea, but will it get the opportunity to flourish? We hop so because the world needs more thoughtful designers.
Although we've been a bit slow coming to this particular party,we trust it's better arrive late, rather than never.
CJChapman Design - Roll-Out Veg Mat.
UPDATE: Damn, Should've checked our sister site's archives as well. Jaymi had already covered the Veg Mat on Planet Green and even offered suggestions on how to make your own.