Opensourced and democratic, displaying trust and respect for plants and people as well as their experiences. A passport, a travelogue and a system for borrowing plants through the library makes the plants of KMD into active participants of the Faculty of Art, Music and Desig
Winter 2017 we visited the botanical gardens with Charles Michaelsen, and there we discovered that a greenhouse filled with mostly fig trees was to be without a home, due to the end of the study they were part of. The plants came here as seeds from different parts of the world and a botanist called Cornelius Berg did ground-breaking research on them his entire life. At that point in time we had just moved into our new building, not feeling quite at home there. The walls were to white, space too big and small at the same time and people were struggling to find their space and role in this new institution.
Ten plants moved in to KMD in the spring and was very welcomed by student and staff. We experienced it as a positive addition to the social and physical atmosphere at the faculty.
How to ensure the plant’s health and wellness, and especially the security. How to ensure that people take care of the plants, to give them a safe environment? How do we create a sustainable system to make the plants thrive and act as a positive participant at KMD?
We approached this with different methods. First, we designed with the plants in focus, so called designing for non-humans. And second, we worked with personification, giving the plants identity. We named them, gave them passports, their own Instagram and made them visible within the faculty.
The ten plants now has their own passports and travelogue. They are part of the library system and you can borrow a plant at the library just as you borrow a book.
We named it Department of Plants to address the seriousness and gravity. The passports had to be as credible as possible, to make sure we achieved the seriousness we were aiming for. A passport says something about citizenship and rights. If we can equip each plant with a durable and “legal” document stating that they belong somewhere, then maybe we are saying something more about responsibility. The material and colour palette is from the plants itself. Wood because of its relationships to the plants and its sustainable character. We implemented leather in the palette to make the passports more credible and as a small reminder that these are living creatures. Laser engraving the materials shows that there is not a human hand here, another way of pointing out the seriousness of the system.