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Grow: luminous art that delights and bolsters in equal measure

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde draws from the Netherland’s cutting-edge sustainable agricultural practices to create a stunning piece of art

With the affordances of a highly modernised and interconnected world, we’re able to get our food – life-sustaining, nourishing food – all the way from a farm across the globe to our favourite local grocer. It’s the farmer at the very end of that lengthy, often-nebulous supply chain that Grow hopes to celebrate – an unsung hero to people all around the world, not just for sustenance, but growing excellent produce that tantalises and excites.

That’s the beauty of agriculture, something that artist Daan Roosegarde’s home country, the Netherlands, is no rookie at. It’s the second biggest producer of vegetables in the world despite its tiny size, especially compared to the United States, which holds the position of top dog in vegetable output. 

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The country’s agricultural expertise makes it a part of the vanguard to global food security, not the least for its use of cutting-edge techniques. That includes using a light recipe – that is, a certain amount of red, blue and ultraviolet light – that can bolster plant growth while cutting the need for pesticides in half.

GROW light art

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All said, a 20,000 sqm field of leek suffused with, at least for the layman, an array of dazzling lights, makes for a very pretty show indeed. One that doesn’t just paint the idea of a better future, but celebrates the strides that have been made by farmers thus far.

Says Roosegaarde, “GROW is the dreamscape which shows the beauty of light and sustainability. Not as a utopia but as a protopia, improving step by step.”

The artist has worked on the project with his team over the past two years with help from expert knowledge sessions conducted at Studio Roosegarde, Wageningen University & Research and the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

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It’s one of many acclaimed works Studio Roosegarde have produced that serve to highlight the confluence of science and art, which in turn create a better future. Another dreamscape (as they’re dubbed) the team created is the Smog Free Project, a massive smog-scrubbing air ioniser that cleans the air around the structure, spawning follow-up projects like a smog-cleaning bicycle. 

Their office is located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands – a veritable mecca for all things sustainable, if other Scandinavian eco-buildings and floating projects are anything to go by.

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