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ELIOOO. Grow Your Food. Or How to Go to IKEA® and Build a Device to Grow Salad in Your Apartment.

Antonio Scarponi, ELIOOO, Book Mockup

By following the instructions in this book, you will become the manufacturer of an idea.
This book is an instruction manual for a product that only exists if you build it. Here are the instructions. I have designed this device so that you can produce your own food, using some inexpensive ikea boxes and the directions in this book.
This system uses hydroponics, a farming technique that can be used to grow plants in water instead of soil. The reason for using hydroponics is very simple: hydroponics allows you to save up to the 90% of the water used in traditional agriculture systems, requires much less space, and provides you with full control of the nutrients required by the plants at each stage of their growth. Another great thing about hydroponics is that you don’t have to worry about watering the plants.
The system i have designed combines different hydroponics techniques. These are adapted to make them easy to use at home. This means that you become a farmer, perhaps an urban farmer. However, this book is not a book on urban farming, nor is it a general book about hydroponics. This book is a manual that will show you how to build and run a simple hydroponic system with some inexpensive ikea boxes. I call this system eliooo.
I believe that the ultimate object of design is knowledge. As a designer, i visualize quantities and dimensions, i organize briefs, i explain procedures. Sometimes this has more to do with storytelling than with technical drawings. These stories and their illustrations are traditionally given to artisans who turn them into concrete things. But as a designer, i like to design things that anyone can make. Today design can turn the world’s population into the biggest creative industry ever known: a crowd factory. Rather than mindlessly producing new stuff, distributing it, and reinventing new production and distribution chains, i think we should find new ways of assembling what we already have.
For this reason, i decided to design eliooo using items from ikea. Everybody knows where to find an ikea store and how much the items will cost.
But the goal of design is also to inspire. Eliooo is designed so that you can play around with the different setups i suggest in the book, with or without the use of ikea components.

Tinker with the configurations, tweak the system, play with the setup, build something. Be inventive. Grow your food.

The book is available as paperback copy and as ebook for kindle on Amazon and on iTunes. For more info and update on this project please check

This book was the result of a successful crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo:

ABOUT THE BOOK: The book will contain hand drawn illustrations, showing you everything you need to know about how to build and run ELIOOO step by step. It contain instructions for about how to build and run six different types and sizes of hydroponic devices as described below and as shown in the prototypes depicted here.

ELIOOO #4: Is a non-circulating hydroponic device able to host up to four pots. It is ideal for growing aromatic herbs on your kitchen counter, window, or table so that you can grow your favorite fresh herbs next to where they will be used. This system avoids the use of electricity to oxygenate water.

ELIOOO #8: Is a non-circulating hydroponic device able to host up to eight pots. It is ideal for aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables. ELIOOO #8 is designed to cultivate larger kitchen herbs and to allow easy indoor vertical farming. This module can be freely hung on the wall and, if replicated, it generates a suspended indoor “green wall” at a very affordable price. This system avoids the use of electricity to oxygenate water.

ELIOOO #30: Is a circulating hydroponic device able to host up to thirty pots. It is ideal for aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables of all sorts. The system consists of three grow trays connected at a distance of 45 cm from each other. They are suspended with two wall uprights and brackets above a 25 liter reservoir that is covered with a seven pot grow tray. The overall dimensions of the installation are 45 x 160 x 29,7 cm.
ELIOOO #30 is ideal for larger vertical indoor farming installations that can be combined with a fully domestic environment, or even integrated with kitchen furniture. The modularity of the system can be combined to generate production columns. This system requires  the use of electricity.

ELIOOO #30 Mob.: Is a circulating hydroponic device able to host up to 30 pots. It is Ideal for aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables of all sorts with the possibility to use the reservoir on the bottom to grow tomatoes, eggplants, or cucumbers. The overall dimensions  are  50 x 50 x 160 cm.
The system consists of three trays vertically connected at a distance of max 45 cm from each other. These are suspended with two wall uprights and brackets above a 25 liter reservoir covered with a max seven pots grow tray. The system is attached to two boards fixed in an “L” configuration, and provided with heavy duty wheels. This allows the system to move easily to reach perfect  indoor or outdoor exposure. ELIOO #30 introduces the concept of mobile farming for perfect tuning. This system requires  the use of electricity. It can, however, be operated with a pump connected to a photovoltaic panel available in most hardware stores.

ELIOOO DESK: Is a non-circulating hydroponic desk device able to host up to eight pots. It is ideal for growing aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables in your workplace. The desk is made with the combination of large reservoirs that suspend the table top, which is designed to have  ELIOOO #8 plugged into it. The bottom of one reservoir can be used to store little gardening tools. This system avoids the use of electricity to oxygenate water.

WHY HYDROPONICS: Hydroponics is a clean, sustainable, and efficient way to grow vegetables using water instead of soil. Hydroponics has enormous advantages compared to traditional agricultural methods. It uses only 10% of the water needed with traditional agriculture, allowing for higher production in smaller spaces. Plants get nourishment directly from a nutrient solution mixed into the water. Consequently, the risk of pests present in the soil is avoided and plants receive the exact nourishment needed for  optimal growth. With hydroponics you do not have to water your plants; you can maintain ideal conditions for growth, without worrying about watering and getting dirty.

WHY IKEA: I think we need to find new ways to assemble what we already have, rather than to produce new stuff. This is the reason why I have decided to design ELIOO using IKEA components. IKEA is a quality supplier available almost everywhere in the world. Everybody knows where to find an IKEA store and how much the components will cost.

WHY YOU: With ELIOOO you will be able to have quick access to indoor hydroponics and start growing your own food right away. You will receive a full spectrum of options according to your needs and possibilities. You can build one hydroponic device at a price far more convenient and affordable than any other hydroponic system available in the market. But, most of all, ELIOOO can inspire you to develop your own system and start playing around with the different setups as I suggest in the book. If design is a recipe, designer are Chefs. I want to make a recipe book about something good that anyone can bake at home.

This project will be completed in collaboration with IKEA Switzerland. They will provide the IKEA components needed to fulfill the rewards offered.


Related posts:

  1. ELIOOO, the Japanese Edition is Out.
  2. Storie. The Italian Design. ELIOOO Exhibited at the Triennale Design Museum: 14.04.18 – 20.01.19
  3. An Interview About ELIOOO, the Book About How to Grow Food Using IKEA® Furniture, was Aired on Hydrowshow, an UK TV Show About Hydroponics.
  4. Orto Perpetuo. A Year-round Edible Garden Module in Your Apartment. Urban Agriculture Survival Kit, Salone del Mobile, Milano 2014.
  5. Malthus, a Meal a Day. Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About the Food and Love the (Population) Bomb.
  6. READYKEA an Exhibition Device for DADA New York II: The Revolution to Smash Capitalism.
  7. Harvesting Station, a Reclaiming Device for the Interstitial Spaces of the City.
  8. Knowledge, Narratives and Devices: The Future of “How to” Live at Home. Talk at the IKEA Democratic Design Day, Lausanne, 22nd September 2017
  9. Fish from the Sky with Vegetables. Globe / Hedron a Rooftop Farm.
  10. READYKEA X-Mass Shop at Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich.



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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 daniele 01/10/2012 at 16:37

How about algae spreading in this kind of recipients? They are very transparent to the light (light+water=algaes)

2 Antonio Scarponi 01/10/2012 at 19:07

Dear Daniele, thank you for your comment. The boxes are rather opaque and algaes do not grow. I have been growing basel in my office with it with no problem. However it is important to use black or green pipes. For the boxes, in case of algae fear, they also come in different colors: blue, red, green, or even pink. :-)

3 Sean 01/10/2012 at 20:01

This is a pretty awesome project. I was wondering if there is any concern of BPA or other chemicals leeching into the system from it’s components. There is a lot of plastic involved and the requirement of light would seem to indicate that those plastic components will be exposed to it which can lead to degradation of the plastics over time.


4 Nicole Sauvageau 05/10/2012 at 07:50

Are the plastic containers from IKEA foodgrade and/or BPA free? Will the sun break down the plastic at all?

5 Antonio Scarponi 06/10/2012 at 01:23

Dear Nicole, thank you for writing. According to IKEA, all the plastic products they produce are BPA free. Thanks for asking, it is indeed a good point that I should stress more.

6 Antonio Scarponi 06/10/2012 at 01:27

Dear Sean,
All the IKEA products are BPA free. Thanks for asking, it is a good point. The other plastic elements I am using are gardening materials and honestly I do not know if those are BPA free. There was no indication in the package. I will contact the company who produces them as soon. Thank you. Antonio

7 Erica 08/10/2012 at 18:00

Hello! :)
This is a great idea for eliminating the food desert problems here in the US. I’m just wondering how the plants would get sunlight if they cannot get direct exposure indoors. Thank you for any help! Also, I’m definitely donating to this :D

8 Antonio Scarponi 08/10/2012 at 18:23

Thank you for your question. Ideally you need to place it in bright rooms like any other plants. Leaf vegetables need less light than tomatoes for example.
I grow herbs with a normal energy saving bulbs in my office. For flower or fruit plants you need more light (400w if you want to grow indoor). This is why I have designed a version with wheels. So you can move it and seek for the best sun exposure. Did you see the video? :-)

9 Nick 15/10/2012 at 04:11

I missed the Indiegogo project… Can I order the eBook from somewhere?

10 Antonio Scarponi 15/10/2012 at 08:52

Yes, you can! Just sent 20usd via PayPal at
Please specify that this is for ELIOOO so that I know. :-)


11 Erica 16/10/2012 at 00:18

Thank you for the reply! Yes, I have seen the video and was just wondering because winter is coming soon and there will be less light during the day :( I hope to implement this at home and possibly get my university to participate! Also, is it still possible to get an e-book? I wasn’t able to donate on time >___< Thank you again for your help!

12 Antonio Scarponi 17/10/2012 at 11:52

Hello there, yes you can. You can pre-order it just sending 20USD for an ebook and 30USD for a book via PayPal at :-)

13 Francesco 17/10/2012 at 20:32

Nice idea, i’d like to start as soon as possible, where can i get the ebook version of eliooo?
Thank you, really good job!

14 Antonio Scarponi 17/10/2012 at 22:56

Hello there, at the moment it is only available as a pre order via PayPal. 30usd for the paper version and 20 usd for the ebook.
You can pay sending the money to please specify that this is for ELIOOO.


15 Luis Bivar Ramos 27/01/2013 at 01:08

Hi Antonio,

Congrats on your project, just awesome! When will the book be ready? Do you ship it to Portugal?


16 Antonio Scarponi 27/01/2013 at 13:55

Hello there! The book is nearly done. I will finish last editing next week and then start the print process. I ship everywhere. :>

17 Luis Bivar Ramos 27/01/2013 at 20:15

Please mail me at when it’s ready. I’ll problable choose the digital format. Will it be pdf or epub format? Thanks for your quick reply!

18 Luis Bivar Ramos 11/02/2013 at 14:58

Hi antonio,

Any news on the digital format book? Is it ready? Will it be pdf or epub?


19 Antonio Scarponi 11/02/2013 at 23:43

Hello there!
I have nearly finished. I have ordered isbn numbers today.
I think the ebook will be out within the next couple of weeks depending on amazon and iTunes. I will publish with them. The PDF version with its own isbn will be delivered only to the people who preordered it. But I need to take a close look into it as I need to see what kind of policies I have to face.
I am nearly there!

20 Luis Bivar Ramos 12/02/2013 at 02:07

Nice to know it :) I’ll be here waiting for news :)

Good luck for these last steps :)

21 Luis Bivar Ramos 02/03/2013 at 01:58

Hi Antonio,
Is it ready? :)
I’m getting anxious waiting for it :)


22 Antonio Scarponi 02/03/2013 at 09:32

Luis, I need the last approve for an external text that has been edited, plus the last typo hunting from an other editor who has seen the book for the first time. This should happen Sunday. Next week I will place all the corrections and Friday I will go to print. The week after I will do the ebook. :-)
I am terribly late an other thinks fell in. I am nearly done thought!

23 Luis Bivar Ramos 02/03/2013 at 20:01

Eheheh, good to know! Good luck for these last steps :)

I’ll be waiting for news!


24 Luis Bivar Ramos 30/04/2013 at 00:03

Hi Antonio,
Is the ebook version ready? Will it be PDf or epub file?
I’m anxious to see it and start trying it :)

25 Antonio Scarponi 30/04/2013 at 10:58

Hi there. Thanks for writing. The book is available on amazon. I will also publish it on iTunes but I have a bourocratic issue with EIN (anerican tax code). At the moment I am not considering releasing a PDF. I am finishing the distribution of the perks to my founders. This includes the release on iTunes. The official launch will be very soon.


26 Luis Bivar Ramos 01/05/2013 at 14:00

Ok, I’ll be waiting! :) Thanks for your reply!

27 Luis Bivar Ramos 01/05/2013 at 14:56


Just to let you know that I just bought it on kindle :) I’ll send my feedback as soon as I’ve read it :)

28 Antonio Scarponi 01/05/2013 at 15:11

Fantastic! Thanks. :-))))
You are the first person I know who got it for kindle. Please give me feedback. I hope you have kindle fire. This ebook world is a jungle, I tell you. They could simply distribute PDF… Anyway, let me know.


29 Luis Bivar Ramos 01/05/2013 at 22:18

I have an iPad 2, but I installed the kindle application and it works fine!
:) I had to bought it from the USA amazon store, it didn’t let me by from the UK one, it must have something to do with my account definitions.

I’m still on the first pages, I’ll give you feedback later.


30 Antonio Scarponi 02/05/2013 at 08:45

Excellent! Very good. Thanks!

31 Leonard 22/05/2013 at 16:40

Hi there, I just wanted to say, that the idea for this book is absolutely great. One can use the described builds or you can build your own customized little projects. Even for a dude like me, who’s more not that good with power tools.
Are there any plans to have a German translation for this? If not, is there a possibility to get involved?
Best regards,

32 Antonio Scarponi 22/05/2013 at 17:49

Hi there! I would love to make a German translation of it. :-))
The book is actually designed for easy translations. But right now I am preparing the launch of the first (English) edition. I do not have budget for translations at the moment. But I might have it soon. In that case I would love to involve you. Are you experienced with translations? :-)

33 Leonard 28/05/2013 at 12:53

I have some experience with translation in fan projects – not at all commercially. I do have a degree though – commercial assistent with a focus on english/french.
For example I translated a few comics myself and I worked on a script translation for a BudSpencer-Fanfilm-Project.

This would be my type of thing to show my appreciation for your work.
Just get in touch if the time is right.

34 Mel 16/09/2013 at 15:07

I thought you said it didn’t use electricity? What is that electrical cord attached to it then?

35 Antonio Scarponi 16/09/2013 at 18:58

Thank you for writing. As you have understood Eliooo presents five different devices and set up, two of these imply electricity. The others imply the so called non-circulating hydroponics therefore no electricity involved. I hope I have answered your question. In case not please do not hesitate to reformulate it.

36 Gail Kindred 17/09/2013 at 16:07

How do I order the book?..

37 Antonio Scarponi 17/09/2013 at 16:11

Ho tenere! Check here:

You can order it using amazon.

38 Michael Volkart 22/01/2014 at 16:47

Hey there, thanks for your book! We received it quite some time ago. It’s great!

39 blake 18/05/2014 at 17:09

can’t wait to try this. awesome ideas! what do you recommend for grow lights and placement of them? is that included in the plans? thanks!

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