This Master Thesis started from a reflection around a few intresting contemporary trends:
- people are buying less stuff, but better quality;
- the objects they buy are more than simple objects, trying to establish a real relationship
with their owners, offering affection together with performance;
- the strong development of the domestic context;
- the world of nature as a 'new' area of interest;
I focused my research on the world of home-grown food, and especially on sprouts,
an uncommon food in European dining culture which is gaining more and more attention everyday.
The goal of the project was to create a good and honest product, that would speak to people on multiple
layers, designing a sprouting system that was different from the contemporary sprouters, which are
often 'immature products' designed with no attention to interaction, to feelings and emotions.
I wanted to design this product in order to let it come out from the small niche it is relegated, to attract
a larger group of people and to transform a simple commodity into something more.
'Semi' is an italian word meaning 'seeds', those tiny little things in which life is encapsulated and
from which the sprout comes up; at the same 'semi-' it also means 'half', partial and incomplete.
In fact, the product I designed is essentially a tool, not the focus of the project itself.
Its real sense lies in the seeds sprouting inside of it, life that happens through the combination of more elements: the product with the seeds, and man with nature.
Along the design process I tried synthesizing the basic elements of the sprouting process:
- seeds, water, air and heat, combined together, generate life;
- the constant watering actions that become a daily ritual;
- water as the natural element that cherishes and feeds the seed;
- the cyclical nature of the whole process, marking the time of man's intervention, which might be a cyclical action too if the rinsing water (full of nutrients) would be reused for watering plants and flowers.
The aim of the project was shifting from the maximization of the mere efficiency of regular sprouting systems, to the exploitation of the conceptual message that the sprouting process carries.
This reflections started with a strong ideal push, have pragmatically evolved into the final concrete product, which is made up of three elements: a breeder in which the pregermination of seeds takes place, the glass vessels (stackable, up to three units) in which seeds become sprouts, and the main vessel which lets the
water come in and out from its big hole, and collects the drain water from the glass vessels.
These three elements stack up into one single volume.
Stacking more vessels means that more sprout crops can be grown at the same time, rinsing all the
sprouting seeds in one single gesture, twice a day.
This brand new rinsing-gesture takes on different meanings:
- it's practical, because it lessen the amount of time and water required for every rinse cycle;
- it's a circular ritual, because it's daily and constant;
- it's delicate, since it mildly nourishes the sprouts;
- it's a questioning gesture, letting people decide what to do with the water coming out the sprouts which
- is full of nutrients: it can be wasted or it can be useful, it can be either thrown away, or it can be used
to feed plants and flowers once again.
I preferred the raw, natural feeling of ceramic materials to the arificial feeling communicated
by plastics; so I opted for Grès prorcelain as material for the breeder and the main vessel, a choice that
has been determined also from its hygienic properties and its excellent resistance capacity.
Sprouting vessels are made in glass, while sylicone gaskets with built-in grids are mounted on the lower
rim: this allows vessels to fit perfectly once they're stacked and the air to pass to and from the sprout crops.
If seeds could be seen as incapsulated life, this system could be seen as a pod: it distributes the nutrients
(air and water coming from the external environment) to the sprouts contained inside each vessel and
filters the light coming in, just like a natural pod.
An object like this aims to have a deep relationship with people, aiming to lead them to discover what the inner message is, their real sense: each growing sprout represents the opportunity to reflect upon the importance of nature, on the magic of its blossom, on the concept of 'cycle' and the meaning of 'life itself'.