Food Producing Architecture: An Open Source Flat-Pack Urban Farm

April 2, 2017 by

growroom_large-biospherePhoto by Rasmus Hjortshøj

Facing the challenges of producing food within the urban environment’s limited footprint, the IKEA innovation lab developed the Growroom, a DIY open source spherical urban farm one can build with a rubber hammer, 17 sheets of plywood, and a CNC milling machine.


The Copenhagen “future-living lab and exhibition space” space10, which functions as IKEA’s innovation lab, produced the prototype using 80 percent products and materials from IKEA stores. After having received so many requests for the product, they chose to make the open source Growroom files available for free and have included instructions that walk users through the 17-step construction process.

growroom-parts-space10-urbangardenswebPhoto by Niklas Vindelev

If you’ve ever nearly lost it as I have trying to assemble a piece of furniture from IKEA, then unless you have the tools and acumen to do so,  you might consider finding a local professional to cut the plywood pieces to size.


growroomPhoto by Alona Vibe

Created in collaboration with architects Mads-Ulrik Husum and Sine Lindholm, Growroom’s free-standing pavilion design focuses on making assembly as easy and as intuitive as possible. Its spherical construction uses overlapping slices to ensure that water and light reach the vegetation on every level.

Food Producing Architecture
“We envision a future where we grow much more food inside our cities,” says Carla Cammilla Hjort, director of space10. ‘”Food producing architecture could enable us to do so.”


Space10’s mission is to “investigate the future of urban living by detecting major challenges that will impact people on a global scale, and exploring possible solutions.”

With Space10, IKEA aims to extend this food-producing architecture design to a global network of contributors, enabling them to explore food security, the pace of urbanization, health and wellness, and other macro-trends.


“IKEA co-workers have always enjoyed the freedom to address big issues creatively in its own business practices.” says Göran Nilsson, IKEA Concept Innovation Manager at Inter IKEA Systems B.V.


Born out of a belief that local food production represents a serious alternative to the global food model and that local food reduces food miles and pressure on the environment, Space10 envisions seeing a Growroom in every city in the world.

grow-room-chart-art-fair-copenhagen-space10-designboom-09Photo by Rasmus Hjortshøj

The designers describe the concept as “a vibrant cosmos,” like a green globe that creates a “coexistence” between the food production function and the environment. The spherical pavilion functions as a growth activator for plants and a shelter for visitors, intended to enhance the visitor’s relationship with the vegetation.

Unless otherwise notes, photos via space10.


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