IKEA’s innovation lab SPACE10 researches self-sustaining urban food production

Investigating how the future city can feed itself

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Published in City, Food & Refugee Challenge by

‘We envision a future where we grow much more food inside our cities. Food producing architecture could enable us to do so,’ says Carla Cammilla Hjort, director of SPACE10, a future-living lab and exhibition space founded two years ago by IKEA in the heart of Copenhagen.
Door Kirsten Spruit

As IKEA’s external innovation hub, 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. The overall goal is to create opportunities for a better and more sustainable way of living in the future.

One of SPACE10’s recent projects worth highlighting ­– especially with the new WDCD Climate Action Challenge around the corner – is The Growroom. This multi-sensory pavilion filled to the brim with herbs and vegetables is an artistic exploration of the incredible potential of urban farming.

Nature in the city

‘We want to spark conversations about how we can bring nature back into our cities, grow our own food and tackle the rapidly increasing demand for significantly more food in the future. In complete self-sustaining eco systems, that supply us with super fresh food of highest quality. All year round. Food that tastes better, is healthier for us, more nutritional and doesn’t put massive pressure on our dwindling supplies of fresh water nor our environment,’ Cecilie Hjelmager writes on their blog.

New technologies have made it possible to take urban farming a step further. Using hydroponic systems, artificial lights and computerised automation plants are given the exact amount of water, minerals and oxygen needed. Plants grow 4 or 5 times faster than in a field, using 95 per cent less water and producing less waste. Moreover, without the need of soil nor sunlight, the method requires much less space than traditional farming and ultimately leaves a significantly smaller carbon footprint on the environment.

Makers Unite

The Growroom was exhibited first at CHART ART FAIR and later on Vice’s Munchies Festival in Copenhagen’s meatpacking district. Earlier this week it was on display at the Royal Danish Opera House during Sustainia Living.

We will definitely be hearing more about SPACE10, as they are teaming up with WDCD Refugee Challenge finalist Makers Unite as part of the Accelerator Programme. With their focus on ’coexistence’ and ‘circular societies’, SPACE10’s objective aligns perfectly with Makers Unite’s aim for social inclusion. Together they are exploring how food production could foster this. We are excited to see the results on 7 March during the Grand Finale of the Refugee Challenge in Amsterdam.

Photo’s by Alona Vibe (courtesey of SPACE10)

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