Designer Tom Dixon and IKEA collaborate to innovate horticultural practices of the future
For the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, designer Tom Dixon donned his gardening gloves and collaborated with IKEA to fashion a two-tiered garden where you can farm your own food. The idea was to propogate sustainable practices and healthy eating habits in the urban context. The renowned creative applied his design skills to the issue of food growth and consumption within urban communities. “Our garden explores the dichotomy of the hyper-natural and hyper-technological to encourage a dynamic approach to gardening. The ground level of the green patch is a horticultural laboratory, while the second level is a lush, verdant space where you can sit back and relax. It is a dialogue between traditional planting methods and futuristic ways of horticulture,” says Dixon.
The garden consists of crates alongside a raised platform. The nature of the system lends itself to the Square Foot Gardening method, which maximises the yield available in a small area. It is inspired by the low maintenance Forest Gardening method based on woodland ecosystems. This gardening methodology translates into limited spaces such as a balcony, making it ideal for city dwellers. By contrast, the base layer uses hydroponic technology to grow a diverse array of edible plants. The technology allows us to grow them indoors under controlled environments all year round. Tom Dixon’s headquarters in King’s Cross has a dedicated space called The Factory, which has been transformed into a temporary growing lab, using one of the hydroponic units from the exhibition garden. Along with IKEA, he plans to further explore sustainable, affordable and modern solutions that people can use to grow food at home and beyond.