Growth Assembly, 2010

Growth Assembly, by Sascha Pohflepp and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, links design, science, illustration, and new technologies in a way that defies current methods of creating, manufacturing, shipping, and using objects. Pohflepp and Ginsberg have come up with a scheme that might on first glance appear far-fetched, but on closer inspection it reveals itself to be a defiant proposition based on engineering plant forms for new applications. The designers have an interest in harnessing the potential of scientific advances in synthetic biology, a burgeoning area of biological research that combines science and engineering in an effort to develop new biological functions and systems that go beyond those found in nature. Pohflepp and Ginsberg began to investigate morphogenesis, exploring how they might be able to control and manipulate plant growth for new uses, even potentially growing products inside plants. Keen to ground their research in reality, however, rather than depict their project through digital renderings for fear of encouraging associations to be made with science fiction, they instead chose to use a more age-old method of documentation, botanical illustrations. Created by illustrator Sion Ap Tomas who collaborated on the project, the intricate drawings resemble those found in catalogues housed within museums and libraries of natural history that promote an understanding and appreciation of the conceptual plant species. Although futuristic, the use of historical methods to depict their ideas grounds their project in reality.

Sascha Pohflepp and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg. Illustrated by Sion Ap Tomos. Growth Assembly: Flexicable Plant, 2009. Courtesy of Sascha Pohflepp and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.