Water Lilly is a family of intelligent architecture components called “smart creatures” conceived to act as photobioreactors to grow micro-algae within the built environment.
The family is now composed of the following members:
Water Lilly components create the conditions for growing phototrophic organisms (phytoplankton, micro-algae) in a biologically active controlled environment to be spread in architectural environments. Such organisms are studied today as one of the most promising sources of bio-fuels. Integrating this technology into the built environment open up a new potential of an active enrolment of architecture in the vast an complex system of energy production.
Feed with light, mineral salts and carbon dioxide, the algae grow into a biomass that can then be treated to create bio-fuel and other carbon based polymers. The system at work offers the possibility of an extra-ordinary green night enlightenment, while giving its contribution to carbon dioxide absorption from the environment, oxygen production and polluted air and water filtering.
As a smart creatures, all Water Lilly components have a nervous system composed of sensors, control boards and activators connected with electrical wires to map the environment conditions around them. Often, their metabolism is socially sensitive. They react to people presence and movement, boosting or slowing down their activity accordingly. They love company, and when a few Water Lilly get together in the same environment, they begin to communicate by sharing data, creating the conditions for a connective intelligence based on open knowledge sharing.
Water Lilly components have been presented in the following events:
- Traces of Centuries and Future Steps, collateral event of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, Palazzo Bembo, Venice, August 25th – November 25th 2012
- Bio.23 Ljubjana Biennal of Design, Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubjana, September 27th – November 11th 2012
- Share Festival 2012 – Open your City, Museo di Scienze Naturali, Torino, October 30th – November 11th 2012
- 8th Swiss Design Network Symposium 2012.SUPSI, Lugano, November 9th 2012
- Conference Abitare il Futuro, Universita’ Federico II, Napoli, December 12-13th 2012
- Fablab Torino, Birthday Party, Torino, February 15th, 2013
- MIT Senseable City Lab, Pechakucha presentation, Cambridge (MA – USA), February 19th, 2013
- Milano Design week 2013: We Make Open Design: Design dai Codici Apertie la Rivoluzione dei Makers al Fuorisalone, Area35 – Via Vigevano 35, Milano, 10–14th April 2013
- Milano Design week 2013: Bottega Digitale con il Fablab Torino al Salone Satellite, Fiera di Milano, Rho, 10-14th April 2013
- Maker Faire Rome 2013, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, October 3-6th 2013
- Dutch Design Week 2013, Now Future, Klokgebouw Composed Exhibition, Eindhoven, October 19-27th 2013
Water Lilly components have been designed using open modelling software and produced using open digital manufacturing technology. Some WaterLilly components have a downloadable file that include 3d software modelling script, technical drawings for cutting machines, list of hardware and software required, mounting schemes and instructions. Build your own Water Lilly or customise her, and enjoy!
Conceived and designed by Cesare Griffa, every WaterLilly component has been created by a vast team involving collaborations with other designers, institutions (including MIT Senseable City Lab), and companies (like Arduino), that share the common background of exploring a more sustainable future based on digital technologies, bio-hacking and sharing knowledge.