The given design brief was to generate concepts and solutions for sustainable furniture and interior designs for the needs of the growing population of seniors, specifically in Europe. My team came up with the idea of a collaborative urban gardening for the public use. Where elderly or anyone interested could use a giant flower pot installed outside in a field. This project was a part of the annual BaltSe@nioR Innovation Camp.
Our design team of five people, including me, had already started interviewing elderlies in our home countries before meeting up at Denmark. We tried to understand everything about our target group, their daily activities, the shape of their apartment etc. After collecting information, a persona of our target group’s needs began to take shape. From that persona, we decided to focus on finding a healthy and easily accessible activity. The idea of some type of gardening began to form, as that persona really liked taking care of plant and growing homemade vegetables. Eventually the idea a collaborative urban gardening for the public use started develop, as that would also fulfil the need for social interaction for our consumer. As they described at that age, they start to lose their loved ones.
The general rough form was brainstormed by the design team. Our goal was to make the product modular for easy recyclability, mass production, installation etcetera. So various sizes, angles, shapes and combinations were explored. We eventually settled on a shape that only required two materials; plywood and metal. We also had the opportunity to interview seniors again, but this time, our intended product was much clearer and we had a mock-up model to show. Among the things that we gathered from the new interviews was the fact that they preferred a vintage look to the product.
After agreeing on the general shape, each member began working on their separate work. My main responsibility was the visual department. I began by creating two medium-fidelity Photoshop sketches, showed the team the direction the design is going and proceeded on creating a 3D model in SolidWorks. After creating the 3D model and making a technical drawing showcasing the product’s various angles, a rendering was made in SolidWorks Visualize. Lastly, the rendered image was reworked on Photoshop again in order to make a more appealing composition and add some flowers to the giant flower pot.
The final product covers three out of the seventeen United Nation's sustainable development goals. Goal 3
, Good Health and Well-being
, for producing a healthy product for seniors. Goal 12
; Responsible Consumption and Production
, as the material selection suggests. Goal 13
, Climate Action
, for increasing the amount of plants through gardening thus lowering the carbon dioxide emissions and the global warming on the earth.
The overall reception from the BaltSe@nioRInnovation Camp judges were great, and creating the product with the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) in mind was a plus. But the concept is still in its infant years. Until a product has been used by its consumer, a real verdict cannot be given. It is still unclear if these will be installed somewhere in Europe. Despite that, this whole project was a good necessity to self-reflect on myself as a designer, because the whole product development took place under 5 intensive days, you discover that there are some skills that you need to improve on in order to deliver the best product as possible in a short deadline. So, I would suggest to everyone, whether designer or not, to put deadlines on project that you are working on as a hobby, in order to improve your craftsmanship. Nevertheless, the Plantage project has also made me realize that I am capable of working with an international design team, and that creating design concepts that improves the quality of life is a passion I want to pursue on.
Disclaimer: Innovation Camp is part of Interreg Baltic Sea Region BaltSe@nioR project and is part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG Baltic Sea Region. The authors of this project, Plantage, are Ewa Gawęcka – Matilde Jørgensen – Nora Gavare – Rahim Adawi – Volkan Göktürk