Floating Garden by Benjamin Graindorge



French designer Benjamin Graindorge has designed a garden that floats on the surface of a fishtank and uses fish waste as fertiliser.


The garden, developed with Duende Studio, serves as a natural filtering system, absorbing nitrate pollutants and meaning the tank's water does not need changing.


Floating Garden, which is available to buy, will be on show at Forum Diffusion in Paris from 25 June to 25 July. Photos are by Ribon.

See also our story about Local River by Mathieu Lehanneur for another example of this concept.

Here's some text about Floating Garden:


Floating Garden

The fish tank is a microcosm that reflects human concerns: within the finite space of its architecture the main issue that conditions the well-being of its inhabitants is waste management. ‘Floating Garden’ by Benjamin Graindorge and Duende Studio brings an innovative solution to the daily maintenance constraints of freshwater aquariums with a filtering system that is 100% natural: a cushion of sand + plants that adapts to each and every model. Its recycling principle based on hydroponics does away with the chore of regular water changes and proposes a new domestic- scale typology, between the decorative glass vase and the water purifying plant.

Floating Garden uses two techniques for eliminating nitrate wastes voided by fish:

1/ Gravel-bed filtration: tank water moves over a tray where it seeps thru a 5cm layer of river-sand. The sand bed traps suspended waste particles and forms a host environment for the aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that transform azote into nitrates.

2/ Aquaponics : nitrate-enriched water pours over a layer of plant-life. The substratum of roots extracts the nitrates to sustain plant growth, which means that water returning to the tank is pure. Needless to say, the vegetation is adapted to wet environments: e.g. Amazon-basin plants or tomatoes rather than cacti.

The combination of these two techniques in a simple easy-to-use product marketed for the general public as of spring 2010 is a significant innovation. It is a little known fact that aquarium fish are up front in the domestic pets market.

Aquarium water remains stable: it is clean and the tank needs only minimal upkeep: a sponge wipe over glass faces to remove algae deposits, an occasional top-up to compensate surface evaporation, and of course food for the fish.

The prototype on show for sale at Forum Diffusion as of 25 June was developed thanks to an Audi Talents Award that Benjamin Graindorge won early this year. It gives concrete form to a ‘passion for waterworks’ shared by Benjamin Graindorge and Duende Studio. What with Graindorge’s ‘Domestic landscapes’ and the ’Local River’ project developed with Mathieu Lehanneur by Anthony van den Bossche, it only needed one step more (and a lot of experiments) for the principle to be turned into a commercially-viable product, realistic but full of poetic potential. Elegant design associated to extended function make ‘Floating Garden’ an object rich in paradox – thoughtful and forward-looking.

“Floating Garden”
Design : Benjamin Graindorge
Concept input : Anthony van den Bossche / Duende Studio
Prototype available in a limited series of 10, each made to order by rapid prototyping process (3D print models). Every product is thus unique in its design. Comes with tinted aquarium glass. Prices on demand.
Marketed in general public version in plastic and ceramic as of spring 2010.
Production: Duende Studio

On show from 25 June to 25 July 2009
at Forum Diffusion
55 rue Pierre Demours
75017 Paris

Press demo Thursday 25 June 2009
from 11 am to 2 pm

Posted on Wednesday June 24th 2009 at 11:01 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • MLDG

    It’s a little bit poorer than Lehanneur’s project. Where is poetry ?
    But it’s only pictures, i have to see it to be sure i don”t make a mistake.

  • NO , it’s not Lehanneur…. it’s a new designer from the same school in Paris .

  • just wow!

  • i wonder what it shall cost. im impressed. would be perfect in the lobby of our office.

  • Joe in MS

    Lehanneur’s “local river” embodies the concept of a nutritionally productive closed ecosystem of both plants and animals and does so on a scale which might be considered as decorative gardening.
    Graindorge, on the other hand, offers the demonstration of a closed-system ecology on a scale which would be more practical for an average hobby aquarist. I can imagine how a small but useful herb garden or a few water-loving indoor plants could attractively profit while extending the time between cleaning cycles of a home aquarium or water feature.
    His design is very clean and well conceived and should be easily mass-marketable. Well done!

  • Booh

    I really don’t think that it’s that innovative… The “floating garden” is kinda cool but the overall design of the product and especially the… very minimal and geometric glass cube seems to read too much like: goldfish tank, for me. I would be more impressed if they would have created a bauble in a bauble or something like that so it would have been innovative not just in how it works but the aesthetics as well. The general aquarist wants aesthetics, not novel “green” technologies (knowing me… I would kill the plants on top of the water regardless).

    I think they ignored some of the most fundamental aspects of a fish tank. Like how are they lit? I mean the entire reason people keep fish is to keep them under bright florescent lights to make their fish look bright and colorful. I think it’s a brilliant idea… but it needs a better sales pitch with a bit more cohesive aesthetic and marketing strategy. Because ultimately if I wanted my cactus to float… i would put it on a little tea light tray… and then let it float… there’s nothing ingenious in that x/

  • Orz_a4l

    can it use in a ecology landscape or a building?

  • I dunnot know any thing about fishs in aquarium…. because i dunnot like animal in cage. I know a dutch designer will design a cage for fish and post it to dezeen. I’m a great source of inspiration.(lol)
    I saw floating garden in Chaumont best garden festival in France, so may be it’s possible to have floating garden in my swimming pool . May be Lehanneur or Graindorge will do that for me .
    I’m a great source of inspiration for french designer(lol)

  • onvn

    Although I agree this isn’t such an original idea, with terrarium-type aquaria well established into the fish-keeping hobby and its filtration media and system used in every well-informed aquarium system. I think the genius in a design such as this is not as much in it’s concept’s originality as much as its approach to bring together all these elements of plant growing, fish keeping and all the issues associated (mechanical, biological filtration, etc.) into one object..

    Think of the average ‘fish tank’ (ie. glass box with boxy looking filter stuck with suction cups, air stone hidden precariously behind a piece of driftwood) as opposed to the BiOrb, an all-in-one solution by ReefOne, where everything is concealed and built into one literally and systematically cohesive object..

    ..but then when I look at the object, it is like a white island that sits on top of the regular fish tank.. I think a more refined aesthetic (less obvious compartmentalisation of its filter, pump, cabling, etc) would make it more marketable and a more seamless system.. maybe this is just a prototype?

    That said, I’d buy one!!

  • jc

    very cool