AMS Spring 2023

3D Printing Meets Green Living in Landscape Architects’ Cella Planters

Inkbit

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3D printing and eco-conscious design team up once again with the introduction of Cella, the brainchild of Harvard Graduate School of Design graduates and innovators Yongkyu Kim and Jonghyun Baek. Co-founders of Ecoid and landscape architects, Kim and Baek created these 3D printed forms that are reminiscent of organic objects like sea shells and porous stones.

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Each Cella is shaped roughly like a round-edged cube — a sort of cell — and punctured with holes of varying sizes depending upon the overall size of an individual cell. Inside of each Cella is a soil or root ball from which sprout moss and plants.

The idea for Cella grew from a research project called “Mosspebble” on which Kim and Baek collaborated with a visiting scholar to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Professor Niall Kirkwood. Mosspebble was a green roof project. Green roofs are, in essence, “living” roofs of 011-1024x480buildings. They feature vegetation that is grown in a medium such as sphagnum moss along with other nutrients, all of which is planted over a layer of waterproofing. They clean the air in urban environments and capitalize on otherwise unused space and sunlight.

During their research for Mosspebble, the collaborative team noticed that moss had some very special properties: It does not require soil to grow and gets all of its nutrients from the air. It requires varying levels of moisture, wind, and shade and thrives on the porous surfaces of pebbles and rocks. These observations were the seeds of Cella, which was four years in the making.

cella chair

The Ecoid website features a gallery of beautiful photographs of different configurations and sizes of the Cella, which is 3D printed using lightweight UV protected PVC. The photos show Cellas sprouting various plant life and arranged to form a kind of large Cella made up of smaller ones, Cellas suspended from ceilings via nearly invisible threads, Cellas arranged in a small cube that serves for a chair, Cellas dotting a brick wall, and so forth.

Also available on the website are two short videos, which provide instructions for making the “soilballs” and “mossballs” that fit inside each Cella and from which the CELLA-with-plants03-1024x600plants spring. The videos are short and it is not clear at what point seeds are inserted into the soil or moss foundations, but a little research on small space or green roof gardening or a quick email to Ecoid (contact information is provided on the site as well), should provide clarification.

Hopefully, Kim and Baek of Ecoid will provide purchase info for their Cellas or will make the design available for home printing. Whatever the case, the Cellas are refreshingly simple, beautiful testaments to the partnership between 3D printing and innovations in greener living.

Discuss these unique pieces of landscaping architectual in the Cella Forum thread on 3DPB.com

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