Interactive spaces

Plants bring the Earth to life

What if

movements could be used to communicate the importance of plants


Read Time ~ 4 min
Interaction Design
Internet of Things
Motion Design

My Role

I participated in designing the concept and implementing the prototype. Besides that, I also had responsibility to sketch out the storyboards and 3D-render our concept.

The Project

This project was part of the Interactive Spaces course at Aarhus University and was in collaboration with Botanic Garden. The aim of the project was to give visitors an appetizer of what they can expect from the visit to the Botanic garden. In particular, it is about the human­-nature relationship and how we depend on nature's resources such as oxygen.

The Concept

The concept consists of a globe and two circular levels. The idea is that the globe changes its volume when small plants are placed in one of the sockets of the upper circular level.

The volume of the globe changes according to the number of plants placed in the sockets. In other words, the globe gradually gets inflated as more plants are placed in the socket. Similarly, the globe gradually gets deflated as plants are being removed from the sockets.

The process

In the first brainstorm session, we generated and sketched initial concepts. The purpose with these was not to propose a final idea, but to trigger a discussion with our client, Kamma

One of the topics we discussed was concerned how humans depends on nature and how we impact it. Although, people in general are aware of the subject, it as for many of us also evolved into tiresome and moralizing stories. We saw this moralizing approach as a problem when trying to inform people about the subject. The curator Kamma also shared this view.

We later discussed internally in our study group how we could illustrate this metaphor in an understandable but subtle manner. Thereby, allowing visitors to draw their own conclusions, rather being told what to believe. 

First Iteration

This led us to the first concept which was a table with soil that made breathing movements when planting plants in the soil. The idea with this breath-like movement was to communicate the human-nature relation; in particular we wanted to tell the story of photosynthesis.

A feedback session, however, made us realize that the soil breathing was vague. This was on the basis that soil normally does not make breathing movements as such. 

Second Iteration

On this background, we decided to utilize a globe that made breath-like movements. Thus, we wanted to communicate through motion that the world depends on oxygen. 

We also decided to use wood to make the installation material-wise fit with the surrounding environment (wooden floor and stairs). Thereby, supporting the perception of the installation being part of the entrance area, rather than being perceived as an entity by itself. 

The space where our installation would be placed

Furthermore, by analyzing the space, we found that a circular shape is appropriate when taking the space of the entrance area into account. This is due to the fact that visitors can come from all directions. The circular shape would make the installation approachable from every direction.

In collaboration with
the Science Musuems

Initiated by Aarhus Univisersity