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.
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.
Grow is an installation by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde.
The installation uses red and blue LED lights to make dancing patterns on a leek field.
Roosegaarde hopes to highlight the importance of agriculture and farmers as well as using science to promote efficient, healthy crops.
LED lights are not only enchanting, but they also inspire better health in plants in special “light recipes” which trigger bio-responses.
For Roosegaarde, light is an important medium of life and communication.
Plant sensitivity to light shown on the McCree curve, which charts the plant's response to different lightwave lengths.
Watch “Grow the Movie” below and lose yourself in light.
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