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Now Anyone Can Build Ikea’s Experimental Garden

It’s like a Billy bookcase for plants.

A few months ago, Ikea’s innovation lab Space10 released a garden structure called the Growroom. Aimed for neighborhood use by city dwellers who don’t have backyards, the spherical wooden planter is meant to be a way to grow food locally and sustainably.

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On Friday, Space10 published the entire set of building instructions for the structure for free online, allowing anyone with a hammer, 17 sheets of plywood, and access to a CNC milling machine or laser cutter to build their own. (Plants not included.)

Designed by the architects Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum, the Growroom is walk-in spherical structure with a bench inside so you can recharge among the plants. Unlike the original structure that debuted in Copenhagen, the open-source version is made entirely of plywood, making it easier for people to build on their own.

Growroom at Chart Art Fair. [Photo: R. Hjortshoj]

When the lab started receiving requests to buy or exhibit the Growroom from all over the world, it decided to open-source the structure because shipping instructions and materials across the planet didn’t fit its goal of encouraging local, sustainable farming. A spokesperson for Space10 says the team knows the design will be used in Helsinki, Taipei, Rio de Janeiro, and San Francisco, and they hope it will pop up in more cities around the world.

The structure itself isn’t very pretty–and you need community space to build it in. Then there’s the matter that once you’ve built it, your work has just begun. You have to keep the plants alive.

The article has been updated to clarify how the garden is intended to be used.

About the author

Katharine Schwab is a contributing writer at Co.Design based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture. Follow her on Twitter @kschwabable.

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