With the coldest of winter behind us and the promise of spring in the air, the gardeners under my readers might feel the call of nature to start growing food again. Or maybe you would love to grow some yourself, but happen to live in an urban area with little open space? Do not despair! IKEA’s designer lab Space10 has the solution for you: the Growroom. Meant to be a community garden to grow local vegetables and herbs, the designers recently made the plans available to everyone.  Team up with your neighbors and friends and get building –only 17 steps!

The Growroom (photo: Space10)

The urban farm pavilion measures 2,8 x 2,5 meter, having a small spatial footprint yet a large yield since you grow vertically. Overlapping slices ensure that water and light can reach the vegetation on each level. The sphere is pretty compact and hence tackles urban farming’s biggest problem: farming takes space, yet space is scarce in cities. The Growroom creates a small oasis in the hustle and bustle of modern city life and enables people to connect with nature again.


The designers of the Growroom Mads-Ulrik Husum and Sine Lindholm (photo: Niklas Vindelev)

Designers Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum hope their vertical farm empowers people to grow their own food locally and spark conversations about how we can tackle the increasing food demand in a sustainable way. When they launched the Growroom in the end of 2016, there was a lot of interest from all over the world. But it doesn’t make sense to promote local food production and then start shipping heavy packs of plywood parts across oceans and continents. So they made the plans available to everyone, so you can build yours locally. Those Swedes are lovely, aren’t they?

It wouldn’t be IKEA without a clear step-by-step guide (well, clear… that depends on who you ask). It’s described as being an easy Sunday afternoon project, but looking at the plans, it seems it’s not for the fainthearted. Swedish genes or 3-5 years of IKEA building experience required. First get the parts cut in your local fablab or carpentry shop. Next, find back the screwdriver, drill, and hammer in your garage or garden shed. Once you have all materials, it takes you 17 steps to put all parts together.

All the parts you need to build the Growroom can be cut with a laser cutter or CNC machine (photo: Niklas Vindelev)

Although I really love the concept, I have some serious doubts about the original design. How long would such a structure survive outside, exposed to the elements? Aren’t the water and the soil going to induce rotting of the wood quickly? The nice thing is that you are completely free to deviate from the original plans. Some people at CleanTechnica suggested using recycled polymer boards or harder types of wood. The Growroom can also be built inside a building, as long as there is enough space and light to house it. Maybe a cool idea to cheer up the entrance hall of your university or office?