Trapped in a tiny apartment but gagging to grow your own? There’s a lamp for that…
For the enthusiastic-but-novice home gardeners, getting that first herb garden to thrive can involve a fair amount of trial and error. How much soil do I need? When should I water the plants? Where’s the best sunlight on my terrace awkwardly tiny windowsill?
Bulbo Light is here to help. Created by a crew of design-minded Italians determined to make the love affair between plants and humans an easy one, the Bologna-based company started producing LED-powered food-growing systems in 2013.
“We want to bring nature into people’s homes, helping them to grow and to know what they eat,” says industrial designer and Bulbo Light founder Lorenzo Antonioni.
Created with compact urban homes in mind, their products deliver the ideal light spectrum needed for plants to kick-off photosynthesis without any exposure to the outdoors.
Antonioni was motivated by urban dwellers’ distance and disconnection from the source of their food. “In recent decades, the places devoted to [food] cultivation have gradually disappeared… The only place where citizens are able to have a real relationship with this is the supermarket,” he says.
“I fell in love with plants, and I found it very interesting to design directly for them rather than for people”
The idea to create lights specifically for plants came to him during university, after which he started working for a lighting design company. “Over time I fell in love with plants, and I found it very interesting to design directly for them rather than for people.”
In terms of the Bulbo Light, putting the plants first meant modelling the lights on nature itself, attempting to capture the effect of natural sunlight. Whether you’d like to start small – sprouting some basil, perhaps – or are feeling more ambitious – a family of strawberry or kale plants, maybe? – the Bulbo system lets urban dwellers smuggle the sunlight into the dingiest of basement apartments and the nookiest of crannies.
There’s a terracotta-encased lamp attached to a metal rod, ready to be nestled into the soil of a potted plant; a sleek, rectangular aluminium frame with space for two pots beneath a rod-shaped light; or a larger recessed row of lights that can be built into cabinetry and the like, for the plants to be arranged underneath. There’s even a starter kit on offer, complete with ceramic pots, soil and seeds for miniature, apartment-friendly vegetables. And when they get round to cloning pocket sized livestock, then you’ve got a whole kitchen worktop farm.