Billy bookcases and Malm bed frames are all well and good, but with a little ingenuity and some DIY skills, familiar IKEA components can become something quite unexpected: hydroponic systems to grow herbs, vegetables, or other plants in your apartment.
DIY Hydroponic Hacks
Designer Antonio Scarponi of Conceptual Devices, whose prototype rooftop fish farm we covered on TreeHugger earlier this year, is now working on a step-by-step instruction manual to carrying out such hydroponic hacks.
"I like to design things that anyone can make. A good design today can turn the world population into the biggest creative industry ever known -- a crowd factory of sustainable solutions," Scarponi says of his latest venture, dubbed ELIOOO. "Design for me is a recipe book about something good that everyone can make at home."
Water-Conserving Gardening Method
Hydroponic gardening uses water instead of soil to grow vegetables and requires just 10 percent of the water as traditional growing methods, making it efficient and environmentally friendly.
Scarponi's "ELIOOO Desk" design incorporates a small growing area for aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables into standard workplace furniture, while his "ELIOOO #30 Mob" maximizes space by stacking grow trays vertically on a wheeled cart that can easily be moved indoors or out. The "ELIOOO #8" can be freely hung on a kitchen wall to grow herbs right where they'll be used, or replicated to create a full indoor "green wall."
The designer said he chose IKEA parts as the basis for his project because the company is "a quality supplier available almost everywhere in the world. Everyone knows where to find an IKEA store and how much the components will cost."
Turning Consumers Into Designers
Though Scarponi says his manual will get home growers producing food right away, at an affordable price, he adds that it can also inspire users to develop their own systems by playing around with the different setups in the book -- turning consumers into designers themselves.