As designers we give ideas a form and we transform them into things. We can’t certainly solve the world’s challenges, but what we can do is to create a concrete storytelling about them. A narrative.
Malthus is one of these tales. It is an in-home aquaponics unit designed for the next generation kitchen or living room. It grows one meal a day: a portion of fish and a side salad. Aquaponics farming is a technique that combines the cultivation of fish with the growing of vegetables. The fish provides rich fertilizer for the plants and in return, the plants clean the water from the tank. The fish and the plants co-exist in a symbiotic relationship.
Malthus is an appliance for the kitchen of the future that grows food right next to where you cook it. Malthus consists of a fish tank that holds 400 litres which can support more then 2kg of fish like tilapia, salmon, grey fish or carp. The water is pumped through three cultivated grow beds which filter the water for the fish.
Malthus is designed to optimize space and costs with indoor food production. The weight of the fish tank is comparable to the one of a full bathtub, its width is about the size of two small refrigerators. Its parts are made of elements available in most DIY stores.
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Malthus #01 was built thanks to the collaboration of Ola Nilsson and presented for the first time at the 10th edition of NESS – Nordic Environmental Social Sciences Conference – Stockholm 14th -16th June 2011 within the context of the exhibition “Power Landscapes” curated by Po Hangström. The theme of the conference is also the theme of an art project where the invited artists (Katia Aglert, New Beauty Council, Cristine Ödlund) presented works on design as a tool for social and environmental engagement.
Malthus has a planned production limited to 100 numbered pieces. The first piece (Malthus #00) is the prototype currently running in our office in Zurich, thanks to Laura Vargalyte, our intern. The design and the production factors of Malthus have been made possible by the technical support of Andreas Graber from UrbanFarmers and Head of the Aquaponics project of the Zurich University of Applied Science who has introduced us to urban farming and to Aquaponics techniques.
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