The Huemid plant vase redesigns the relationship between people and nature.
Developed by architectural practice Carlo Ratti Associati and architect Walter Nicolino, Huemid uses smart breathing paper to transmit the needs of the plant inside.
Resembling a brown paper bag, the smart vase is made from cardboard pulp that has been soaked in a cobalt bromide reagent that reveals humidity. Once the soil is placed inside, the cardboard measures the level of humidity in order to signal when a plant is in need of water. The vase changes to different hues of blue – the darker the colour the more water the plant needs.
Their choice of material enabled the designers to create an adjustable vase that can be stretched to the desired height and width necessary for various plants.
The plant container takes inspiration from Gore-Tex, the synthetic waterproof fabric permeable to air and water vapour mostly used in outdoor and sports clothing.
Ratti and Nicolino’s innovative material mimics the actions of barometer figurines that were used in the 1950s and 60s to determine weather changes.
Another of Ratti’s projects, which looks at the relationship between people and nature was conceptualised for Expo Milano 2015. Earth Screening features a large agricultural field with constant activity from two robotised, self-driving tractors “writing” on the large earth roof, working the land. “In the same way as self-driving cars are expected to revolutionise urban mobility, advanced robot technologies are reshaping agriculture, with a new wave of innovations helping us to better respond to local terrain conditions,” explains Ratti.