'The Coral' Introduces Humans to the Benefits of Growing Micro-Algae at Home
'The Coral' is an indoor micro-algae farm designed to rebuild a relationship with algae, critical for sustainability yet less appreciated, in our everyday lives. This wall-mounted bioreactor proposes a daily ritual for algae consumption for a sustainable alternative of nutritional diets. The Coral also highlights algae's environmental benefits through a symbol of revitalizing coral from 'coral bleaching.' Besides, the representation augments an indoor experience, allowing us to welcome the algae farm at home for aesthetic purposes. The Coral suggests a socially acceptable way of bringing algae, which helps us take one step forward to a better sustainable way of living.
Hyunseok AnThe Coral suggests a more sustainable way of living by bringing algae into our everyday lives.
Hyunseok AnIts sculptural front presents the lively patterns of corals, highlighting algae's environmental importance as well as providing an ever-changing aesthetic experience.
Hyunseok AnThe medium in culture cells turns green as algae grow (1/3)
Hyunseok AnThe medium in culture cells turns green as algae grow (2/3)
Hyunseok AnThe medium in culture cells turns green as algae grow (3/3)
Hyunseok AnEach of its 16 culture cells can grow algae for the amount of recommended daily intake, allowing us to replenish and harvest algae continuously in a bi-weekly cycle.
Hyunseok AnThe Coral soaks up CO2 in the air, and each valve on the bottom can control air flow to each cell.
Hyunseok AnOnce the medium turns dark-green, algae can be harvested through a simple filtration process.
Hyunseok AnEach cell is sitting on a grid wall by a neodymium magnet attachment.
Hyunseok AnBy algae grow, the color in the cell turns from transparent to shades of green.
Hyunseok AnIts wall-mounted structure with aesthetic representation is designed to integrate it into our indoor environment harmoniously.
Hyunseok AnThe Coral jazz up our indoor environment through its customized representation.
Algae play a critical role in the sustainability of human life and our ecosystem. Algae are some of the most efficient CO2 scrubbers in the air, with ten times greater CO2 fixation than terrestrial plants. The 1974 UN World Food Conference deemed algae 'the most ideal food for mankind,' and NASA uses algae as dietary supplements on long-term space missions because of the rich, well-balanced nutritional content.
Even so, however, we may not fully enjoy algae's outstanding benefits in our everyday lives. Rather, we tend to dismiss it, associating it with negative feelings: mossy, slimy, gross. This isn't strange, because we usually see algae in unpleasant situations—stagnant water, with a nauseous smell like pond scum—and these contexts influence our perception of algae as distasteful. Because of this emotional rejection, we might underestimate algae's values, try to eliminate it from our everyday lives, and thus lose the potential benefit to our health and our environment.
Can design intervene to nudge people to embrace algae, instead of rejecting it? How can design create a different context to live with algae? Can design suggest a more sustainable way of life by accommodating algae in our everyday lives?
The Coral is an indoor micro-algae farm designed to rebuild a relationship with algae in our everyday lives. This wall-mounted bioreactor proposes a daily ritual for algae consumption through home algae farming activities. Each culture cell in the four-by-four grid wall frame contains around 2 grams of algae when it turns dark green—the recommended daily intake amount. The 16 cells in the farm enable us to grow and eat algae every day because one cell has a biweekly cycle to replenish after harvesting. Through its simple farming and harvesting process, The Coral allows us to access this outstanding food resource at home and consume algae - a sustainable alternative of supplying nutritional diets.
The Coral also highlights the environmental benefits of algae through its coral pattern on the front. The 16 cells change color from transparent to shades of green as the algae grow and complete one vibrant coral. This transition shows the environmental importance of algae through a symbol of revitalizing coral from 'coral bleaching,' the worldwide phenomenon caused by global warming. In addition to this awakening of representation, the color variation and transition over time augment an indoor experience, allowing us to welcome the algae farm at home for aesthetic purposes.
Through its use and indoor experience, The Coral aims to change the preconception of algae, suggesting a socially acceptable way of reconnecting with algae and bringing it into our everyday lives. By doing so, The Coral can help us take one step forward to a better, more sustainable way of living, for us and for our world.