NOMINEES

Grey to green
Community category

About

A series of paving stones that can host vegetation.

Detailed Description:
Right now, the world is facing the largest wave of urban growth in history. The densification that follows leads to the disappearance of greenery in the cities. The cities depend on nature's ecosystem services to function properly. In the future we must find new ways to more efficiently integrate green structure into the cities. My product is a series of paving stones that can host vegetation. They allow flexible customization and integration of greenery on the paved urban floor.

Known drawbacks of design:
If the vegetation would be perceived as weed.

Website:
http://cargocollective.com/carolinebrahme/Grey-to-Green

Designed in:
2012

Status of realization:
Prototype

Challenge(s):
Energy, Environment, Health, Urbanization

Region of use:
Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America

Form/Impact/Context

Form
I wanted to achieve a pixel-like effect with the greenery to be able to create smooth transitions between the grey and the green. I found that simple, round holes worked very well to achieve this. When vegetation is growing in the holes, the design of the holes becomes less visible, so adding more shape the holes was no point. It is important that the tiles work well with the existing commonly used paving stones, so I wanted to keep a clean, simple surface. The elevated edges and hollows around the holes accentuate the vegetation. They also have the function of contributing to biodiversity as they create different conditions between the holes. The hollowed holes collect water while the elevated holes bounce the water away. The holes are placed slightly asymmetrically in the tiles. This is to capture the asymmetrical and wild feeling of nature and to get away from the more strict and symmetric feeling of the city.

Impact
The wish to build tight and green is contradictive. We want to avoid creating urban sprawls, but at the same time avoid densification that eliminates the green surfaces in the cities. By integrating greenery into existing elements of the infrastructure that already has a place in the city, we can build both greener and tighter without compromising with space. This is one of the big benefits that my product achieves. In the city there are many impervious surfaces that are not worn. On these surfaces it is common that vegetation starts growing spontaneously, but it is considered as weed. By designing a space for vegetation in the paving stones, the plants get an accepted place on these impervious surfaces, and will not be considered as weed. I want to push the borders for where vegetation can be accepted or not. Aspiring to pave the way for a new way of thinking when planning the many impervious surfaces in the city. Not separating the green and the grey, but mixing them.

Context
Right now, the world is facing the largest wave of urban growth in history. The densification that follows leads to the disappearance of green areas in the cities. This is problematic since the cities depend on nature's ecosystem to function properly. As vegetation cools the city it decreases the upcoming of urban heat islands which causes global warming. Plants are very efficient air purifiers, cleaning the air from CO2 and air particles. Vegetation has a sound absorbing effect. Another important function of vegetation is its role in the water cycle. It is good at infiltrating water. In the city it plays an important role in taking care of rainwater. Many studies show that green environments have a great impact on our well-being and mental health. The main goal of my product is to increase the area of green surface in cities. I think that it will make a difference for both the environment and the people in urban areas, as well as for the environment in the bigger perspective.

Other relevant information
“What if an urban flora could be introduced into the paving system on the urban floor instead of fighting the vegetation that today is considered as weed.” was my first thought. As an industrial designer however, I did not understand exactly how bold and innovative my idea was in its context until I talked with the landscape architects and got a better understanding about their discipline!

Business

Proven and/or potential effects:
Nothing is proven since the product ha not been in use yet. I am having discussions with the producer S:t Eriks about putting the product in production though them. The product would be a good compliment to the normal paving stones that S:t Eriks sell according to them. Its beneficiary attributes are, as described before: creating a more sustainable and healthy city environment, being able to build both tight and green, seeing greenery instead of weed in the paving, and opening for a new way of planning the vegetation in the cities.

Is the design protected by patent or ip registration?
none

How has the development of the design been financed hereunto?
Personal investment

Is there a plan for future investments?
Yes

Is there in-house competencies to secure market roll out of the design, with regards to investment, distribution, sales, etc.?
No

Credits

Designed by:
Caroline Brahme

Title/Role:
Designer

Website:
http://cargocollective.com/carolinebrahme

Professional status of designer:
Employed at Form Us Wth Love AB

Nationality:
Sweden

City/Country of residence:
Stockholm/Sweden

Name of company:
-


Manufactured/Produced/Commisioned by:
S:t Eriks
http://www.steriks.se/