Project name: City Farming for a Sustainable City Seminar
Funder/Sponsor: Sustainable Agriculture Foundation Thailand
Project type: Booth design & construction; Exhibition design & construction; urban farming; sustainability
After the success of the City Farm Festival N.5 in January 2019, the Sustainable Agriculture Foundation Thailand commissioned Openspace to design a follow up event: the City Farming for a Sustainable City Seminar at KU University.
City Farming for a Sustainable City Seminar
The City Farm Event was a seminar on the topic of “city farming for a sustainable city”. Initially, with the focus on the seminar, the organisers did not plan to include design. However, as the event grew, and seeing the size of the space they were renting at the Faculty of Architecture at Kasetsart University, the Sustainable Agriculture Foundation Thailand included Openspace as the designers.
Our concept and process
Our concept for this project was simple: reuse all the materials from the City Farm Festival N.5 in different ways. We did not want to simply move the booths; we reused the materials to create new designs while keeping the natural material vibe in an indoor space.
For the entire design, we used three main materials:
Steel for the stands
Coloured see-through fabric
During our design process, we kept in mind all the available materials we had and the idea that we wish for them to still be reusable. As a consequence, we avoided overcutting, and left all materials in big pieces, to allow for more possibilities in the future. For example, wherever we needed smaller pieces of fabric, we folded them rather than cut them. For the bamboo, we took into account the size of the bamboo poles we already had, and designed the booths accordingly to avoid further cuts.
The event was planned on two floors: the open-plan ground floor, and the third floor where the seminar was being held.
The ground floor
Since the topic of the seminar was city farming for a sustainable city, the ground floor of the exhibition was designed to have booths for aiming to inspire the audience through exhibitions and workshops from experienced and inspiring urban farmers.
The ground floor design included:
A photo exhibition of urban farming projects around the world, with content provided by the Sustainable Agriculture Foundation Thailand
Separate booths for three groups of urban farmers to share knowledge and run workshops
A meeting space for the audience
An eating area for the audience with a large bamboo table in the middle and added smaller tables around
For the booths, we designed structures able to stand on their own, with no drilling. We built new steel stands, heavy enough to hold the whole structure.
The booths themselves have a five-corner design. The idea was to break the traditional square by adding one more column, thus increasing the available floor space. That newly created corner was designed with bamboo planters for microgreens and as the signage corner for each urban farming group, that allowed the extra space to serve as a shop front without infringing into the square area designed to exhibit each group’s knowledge.
Lastly, while we kept all bamboo poles at their original size, we played with steps and putting beams in different levels to create new designs.
The large table in the middle of the ground floor was designed to hold a roll of microgreens at its centre. For this event, we were growing wheat, morning glory and pumpkin sprouts, with the expectation that the audience would add the microgreens off the bamboo to their lunch. Bamboo illustrates the possibilities of growing greens in a small space since bamboo, which is usually used in urban areas for construction work, has a really small diameter; around 2.5-3 inches.
To keep the project budget low, we reused the cafeteria tables for extra eating space. To keep with our theme and to beautify them, we covered the tables with the fabrics that we used around the booths.
The third floor
The design of the third floor served the functions required by the Sustainable Agriculture Foundation Thailand. This included:
A photo corner with a backdrop of a vertical garden to showcase how urban farming can be done in a small space
A big board introducing urban farming projects and nodes around the country that were started using funding from the Foundation, which we designed
A mapping of urban farming nodes in Thailand from the Foundation’s funding
A table for selling goods
A registration counter for the seminar
For the vertical garden, an urban farmer provided all the potted plants and allowed us to play with them in our design. All the plants came in black plastic pots, which we wrapped in white fabrics to give each pot a softer look and match them with the wooden structure – thus creating an aesthetically pleasing photo corner.
All the material from this exhibition can be reused multiple times for future events, thus making it very sustainable.