A Vase That Tells You To Stop Neglecting Your Plants

The wall-mounted system physically tilts when water evaporates, signaling that it’s time for a refill.

Plants have the special ability to brighten up any apartment. A little green matter can make any dark or dreary living space, well, a little less dark and dreary. That is, of course, if you remember to water them. No matter how many mental Post-Its you make for yourself, you invariably neglect your duties to your leafy friends.


Water Balance flips the scenario: Rather than wait in vain for sustenance, the plant itself tells you when it requires watering. Risako Matsumoto, a member of Design Soil, created the watering system to have comically few components, which he arranged in a simple configuration: A single wood plank mounted to the wall is fitted with two slots, and a thin metal weight rests in each. On one end rests a vial flower vase, on the other, a sliding counterweight. As the water in the vase evaporates, the weight shifts the balance and the mobile tilts downward.

The design plays with our expectations of what an object or tool can be. “A scale is a tool to measure weight,” Matsumoto tells Co. Design. “But I wanted to try to change a scale into another tool. So I came up with this idea for a scale as a tool for communication. I wanted the user to be able to communicate with flower and plant.”

Matsumoto is one of several designers working collaboratively under the umbrella of Design Soil, a university-based collective that promotes the work of students and recent grads and gives them a platform for launching their work. His minimalist plant holder is one entry in the group’s Lagrangian Point project. The title refers to the orbital equilibrium principle that holds celestial bodies in balance. The principle is at play “not only in astronomic subjects,” the designers say. “It is able to be found in places close to us.” The design is just a prototype, so you should probably go water your plants, now.

h/t Spoon & Tamago


About the author

Sammy is a writer, designer, and ice cream maker based in New York. He once lived in China before being an editor at Architizer.