Dazzling Outdoor Installation Uses “Light Recipes” To Sustainably Inspire Plant Growth

Daan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio

“Grow” by Daan Roosegaarde

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde is renowned for his reality-bending art installations that imagine a better world. The innovator's studio in Rotterdam combines cutting-edge science with acute observations on society and art. The results are projects such as Roosegaarde's latest installation titled Grow. Using high-density LED lights in red and blue hues, Grow turns a 20,000 square-meter leek field into an undulating, futuristic landscape. Created as part of an artist-in-residence program with financial company Rabobank, the installation aims to highlight the importance of agriculture, the farmers who tend the land, and scientific developments that encourage fruitful crops.

The Netherlands is an important agricultural producer for countries around the world. While much of Roosegaarde's work is urban-centered, his exploration of the Dutch countryside helped inspire Grow. “As a boy, I never stayed inside, I always went outside—playing with nature, building tree-huts,” the designer tells My Modern Met. “I was so used to creating and personalizing the world around me. That mentality has always stayed. This naive but beautiful notion you can add something good to the world.”

On such a mission, Roosegaarde became interested in the importance of fields to the Earth's well-being. He also began to learn more about how to create efficient, healthy crops. Through collaborations with experts such as the Wageningen University & Research, Springtij Forum, and the World Economic Forum in Davos, the designer created Grow as more than just a pretty light show.

Daan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio Light Recipes LED Plants Studio

The installation uses science to encourage plant growth. Specific “light recipes”—combinations of frequencies of blue, red, and ultraviolet light—have been shown to activate a plant's metabolism and inspire increased resistance to pests. In fact, lights in the optimal ranges are becoming important solutions to greenhouse and indoor agriculture; Grow even suggests an additional use as a way to reduce pesticides in fields. According to Roosegaarde, “Grow creates a new harmony between people and nature, where art meets science to improve the world around us.”

Light is a particular source of fascination for Roosegaarde. “Light is my language,” he says. “Light is communication, not decoration, it can activate and plants are very sensitive to it.” The beautiful, shimmering LED colors of the Dutch leek field are more than just beautiful. They offer a “dreamscape” of art and sustainability.

Grow will travel the world and visit fields to raise awareness and connectivity with nature. But that's not all from Studio Roosegaarde; another light-based dreamscape coming soon is Urban Sun. The project will launch in 2021, and it will use knowledge of light to cleanse spaces for human connection during the pandemic.

To learn more about Grow and the other upcoming installations from designer Daan Roosegaarde at Studio Roosegaarde, check out their website and Instagram.

Grow is an installation by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde.

Daan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio Light Recipes LED PLants

The installation uses red and blue LED lights to make dancing patterns on a leek field.

Daan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio Light Recipes LED PLants

Roosegaarde hopes to highlight the importance of agriculture and farmers as well as using science to promote efficient, healthy crops.

Daan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio Light Recipes LED PLants

LED lights are not only enchanting, but they also inspire better health in plants in special “light recipes” which trigger bio-responses.

Daan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio Light Recipes LED PLants

For Roosegaarde, light is an important medium of life and communication.

Daan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio Light Recipes LED PlantsDaan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio Light Recipes LED Plants StudioDaan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio Light Recipes LED PLantsDaan Roosegaarde "Grow" Studio Light Recipes LED Plants Studio

Plant sensitivity to light shown on the McCree curve, which charts the plant's response to different lightwave lengths.

Plant Sensitivity McCree Curve
Technology Grow Installation

Technology used for the “Grow” installation by Daan Roosegaarde.

Artist Daan Roosegaarde

Artist and Designer Daan Roosegaarde

Watch “Grow the Movie” below and lose yourself in light.

 

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Daan Roosegaarde: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Studio Roosegaarde.

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and reading while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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