Focus


Rebuilding relationship

Exploiting the recent technological developments to establish inter-relationships between human, vegetal world, product and service that place sociality at the center of the renewed interest in environmental issues.

02 September 2021

The need to understand and to translate the complex system in which we live, requires a growth in daily use of "smart objects". The “smart objects” should be able to exploit the recent technological developments to establish interconnections between human, vegetable world, product, and service, by triggering processes that place sociality at the center of the renewed interest in environmental issues.


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SMAG (designsustainabilitylab.com) is a system of sculptural outdoor furniture aimed at creating a product-service system equipped with an advanced technological and social set-up able to control vital parameters of the public or private garden using the Internet of Things. Thanks to the development of a multi-sensor system and a Cloud managing data platform, it intervenes in: the vitality of the garden and the health of people who frequent it, air quality, irrigation, lighting, air, sound pollution and, more generally, the overall sustainability of the outdoor environment. The entire system can be controlled and managed remotely via a dedicated app.

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The Water Value collection, designed for public places, includes a series of travertine seats/pots equipped with sensors able to monitor the air and soil parameters to improve the human and vegetal quality of life in the urban environment. The collection combines innovative technologies and traditional knowledge: a special system of terracotta jars is positioned inside the pot and is responsible to maintain the soil moist (not wet), discouraging the proliferation of bad grasses; in addition, the water is directly distributed to the plants’ roots, avoiding surface washout and evaporation.
The concept is by Alessandra Galli, the detailed design and engineering by Design Sustainability Laboratory (LDS) of the Department of Architecture at the University of Florence. The product has been realised by Travertino Sant’Andrea, Arredo di pietra.

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The Seven Dwarfs series for private consists of seven marble objects, each of which can monitor a specific parameter. The products are equipped with an integrated sensor system able to detect: temperature, humidity, VOC, PM10, PM 2.5, carbon dioxide, atmospheric pressure and brightness. For example, Grumble detects the atmospheric pressure while Doc is the control unit and links the objects’ communication. The project has been developed in collaboration with Up Group company, the concept has been developed by Giacomo da Re and the detailed and engineering project has been made by the Design Sustainability Laboratory (LDS) of the Department of Architecture at the University of Florence.
 

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In both collections, technology is not just a valuable tool for parks and gardens’ maintenance, but it also creates a relationship between the user and the product (tangible and intangible) that could bring benefits in terms of sustainability. In this scenario, design can make an important contribution thanks to its ability to adapt and integrate different systems. This project involved several players including designers, architects, sociologists, urban planners, landscape architects, and agronomists to define an applied scenario that considers the environment in its broadest sense, including ecological, social, cultural and technological aspects. These projects overcome the -still- too widespread idea of ​​anthropocentrism and look at nature in its entirety, on behalf of an equal relationship between all living beings.

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