French designer Mathieu Lehanneur has created Local River, a concept for a domestic "refrigerator-aquarium" that breeds freshwater fish for eating and grows vegetables at the same time. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.
Inspired by the Locavores movement of people who source food grown locally to avoid pollution and ensure freshness, the project would allow people to produce their own food at home.
Vegetables growing in floating pots would help purify the water by removing nitrates and other minerals.
The concept will be presented at Artists Space Gallery in New York from 25 April.
Here's some info from Lehanneur:
Anthony van den Bossche, spin doctor.
Artists Space Gallery, New York
Curator : Alexandra Midal
25 April to 21 June 2008
Local River, home storage unit for fish and greens
The Locavores appeared in San Francisco in 2005 and define themselves as 'a group of culinary adventurers who eat foods produced in a radius of 100 miles (160 km) around their city'. By doing so they aim to reduce impact on the environment inherent to the transport of foodstuffs, while ensuring their traceability.
Local River anticipates the growing influence of this group (the word 'locavore' made its first appearance in an American dictionary in 2007) by proposing a home storage unit for live freshwater fish combined with a mini vegetable patch. This DIY fish-farm-cum-kitchen-garden is based on the principle of aquaponics coupled with the exchange and interdependence of two living organisms - plants and fish.
The plants extract nutrients from the nitrate-rich dejecta of the fish. In doing so they act as a natural filter that purifies the water and maintains a vital balance for the eco-system in which the fish live. The same technique is used on large-scale pioneer aquaponics/fish-farms, which raise tilapia (a food fish from the Far East) and lettuce planted in trays floating on the surface of ponds.
Local River responds to everyday needs for fresh food that is 100% traceable. It bets on a return to favour of farm-raised freshwater fish (trout, eel, perch, carp, etc...), given the dwindling supplies of many saltwater species due to over-fishing. It also demonstrates the capacity of fish-farmers to deliver their stock live to a private consumer as a guarantee of optimum freshness - impossible in the case of saltwater fish that has been netted.
Local River aims to replace the decorative 'TV aquarium' by an equally decorative but also functional 'refrigerator-aquarium'. In this scenario, fish and greens cohabit for a short time in a home storage unit before being eaten by their keepers, the end-players in an exchange cycle within a controlled ecosystem.
Materials: glass: blown & thermoformed, water pump, joints.
Dimensions : Large : 64 x 29 x 39 inches, Small : 29 x 18 x 36 inches.
with Anthony van den Bossche, spin doctor
25 April to 21 June 2008
38 Greene Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212. 226. 39 70
Tues, Thurs, Fri. 12 - 6 p.m.
Wed. 2 - 8 p.m.
Sat. 12 - 5 p.m.
Mathieu Lehanneur, designer. Graduated from ENSCI-Les Ateliers in 2001; is currently exploring possibilities in nature and technology for their break-thru potential in functions and their capacity to work magic. Made his international début with a series entitled 'Elements' (VIA Carte blanche 2006) and the 'Bel Air' filtering system for plants (2007), six objects that form a domestic 'Health Angels' kit for rebalancing everyday physiological needs (such as lack of sunlight in winter) and countering aggression factors in urban settings (noise & air pollution).
Anthony van den Bossche, age 36, independent ideas man and curator. Set up Duende Studio in 2007, for events design and press relations. Moved full-time into design in 2001 after working as a journalist, ideas man and producer in television. Has mounted exhibitions such as "Design@home.se', 'Norway says' and 'Eden ADN, genetic design' (Biennale de Saint-Etienne 2006) that highlight functional and decorative improvement of living organisms. Member of the purchasing jury of the National Fund for Contemporary Art, decorative arts department, and creator of the world gazette website www.resetdesign.com (2002-07).
Alexandra Midal, professor of theory & history of design at Ecal (Switzerland) and School of Fine Arts of Toulouse (FR), former directress of Frac Haute-Normandie, now an independent curator of exhibitions. Has published several books and catalogues, including 'Appartement témoin, les annees 50', 'Appartement témoin les annees 60', 'Antidesign : petite histoire de la capsule d'habitation en images', and in 2008 'Tomorrow Now-When Design Meets Science Fiction'.