Vertical Irrigation is a start-up from Fresno, California, that created an irrigation module called Alchemist Indoor Garden. Alchemists are remotely programmable, WiFi-enabled indoor gardens designed to provide everything the crops need to thrive. They are equipped with an HD camera and can be upgraded with additional sensors and unique crop-specific attachments.
Their team, who finished building the physical product, needed an MVP for Room2Table, the web platform where chefs and urban farmers can control their mini-farms. This was a freelance project completed in one month.
Role: Art Direction, UX Design, UI Design
The challenge: decentralizing food
Vertical irrigation's vision is to decentralize farming by increasing consumer access to emerging farming technology. They wanted a product to be more consumer-focused. The target is both grocery stores and chefs, who they call culinary artists. For these reasons, an elegant visual style was created, but with a touch of rebellioussnes.
“Cultivate an army of farmers who can feed themselves and the world”
Grow and play: a creative process
Room2Table serves as the digital control panel for Alchemists, and as a data-sharing hub for their community. The data, pictures, and information shared on Room2Table contribute to developing standard grow settings for an ever-growing list of crops.
Initially, the idea behind controlling the modules was to create two panels: a manual one, in which the user can change parameters in real-time, and an automatic one, called cycle, programmable through a calendar. The idea of the calendar resulted cumbersome and boring, so I tried a completely different approach. I took inspiration from the Digital Audio Workstations and from video editing tools. Since culinary artists are involved, the creation of growing cycles should be treated as a creative process, and for that reason I wanted it to be a fun and enjoyable experience.
Users have a dashboard in which they can see their connected gardens. For each of them, they can choose to change parameters manually or play a cycle. They can create their own cycle, or they can select pre-made templates given by famous chefs collaborating with the platform. The main innovation is represented by the process of creating a cycle, which resembles music creation or video editing with a drag and drop mode, different types of zoom levels and timescales.