Gallery: CULTIVATE SYSTEM For Indoor Botanicals


We love designs and products that blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor and make greenery a more integrated part of our daily routines. And it doesn’t hurt when they’re as thoughtful and well-designed as the Cultivate System from Ian Walton and Eoin McNally, for the “Kitchens of the Future” project sponsored by the German manufacturer Miele Kitchens.

Their idea was simple: what if you could design a system that allowed you to grow a good part of your daily allowance of fruit and vegetables in the kitchen, and do so in a way that essentially works without any knowledge of cultivation and gardening? The result: A series of hydroponic modules which can hold up to three plant pods in a wall mount for simple access and use in limited spaces. The units also supply the power and water (greywater from the kitchen sink) necessary for the system.

“Our initial reaction to the brief was that the future of kitchens and kitchen life did not have to be entirely technologically driven. Instead we were interested in encouraging a more natural and sustainable way of life,” write Ian Walton and Eoin McNally.

The modules are removable so that you can take the grown vegetables and herbs to the preparation area of your kitchen. As an added bonus, and to show how much they thought about sustainable issues in their design, the modules are made from recycled corn plastic material and a nice bamboo ply trim. The grow trays are made out of polypropylene, a much better alternative to PVC. Green in function AND material, we can’t think of a better addition to any kitchen.

+Eoin McNally
+Ian Walton


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  1. LED grow lights August 24, 2009 at 8:17 am

    I thought this was silly c-ity-dweller thing, until I read the part about “no knowledge” of gardening. Now that’s handy. Let’s hope the price of all this eco-design can come down with the economies of scale.

    LED grow lights

  2. Una May 15, 2007 at 5:02 am

    great to see young irish designers showing an interest in sustainable design… hopefully this is the begining of something big

  3. deb May 14, 2007 at 7:22 am
    see “sativa” in projects

  4. Able Parris May 11, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    This would def be great for our office!


  5. Michael May 11, 2007 at 8:16 am

    You know this looks nice and all, but in all reality, its a plastic tub that hangs on a wall. How is the grey water monitored, where is it coming from? If you were truly interested in growing plants in your home like this, its not difficult and this doesn’t make it much easier. I realize that it looks like a nice product with the laminate wood covering, but its a glorified plastic tub with grey water somehow running to it. I don’t mean to sound cynical here, just go outside and get a little water from the rain barrel and feed the little tomatoe plant yourself.

    Again it does look nice, but I sure wouldn’t buy it for more than whatever price it costs to buy a couple of tubs and figure out a hanging system for them. Take it easy everyone.

  6. Laurie May 10, 2007 at 9:35 am

    I love systems like this and dream about outfitting my kitchen with one. I’m hoping it can be made affordably. A handful of these seem to be popping up here and there, including John Arndt’s lovely “kitchen of terrestrial mechanics,” And they remind me of one of Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec’s earliest projects “the disintegrated kitchen ”

  7. Tiffany May 8, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Awesome! can’t wait to have it!

  8. Bobby Jones May 8, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    sigh…more vaporware.

  9. Merrin May 8, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    These look great how does the sink grey water get to the plants?

    Also Richie might want to know that hydroponic solutions can be organic and thus as natural as any agricultural system. It can be more energy efficient and has all the same benefits of plants in soil. In this case, it has the added benefit of improving indoor air quality. You can not fool Mother Nature or trick her plants.

  10. royalestel May 8, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    At first look I thought this was silly c-ity-dweller thing, until I read the part about “no knowledge” of gardening. Now that’s handy. Let’s hope the price of all this eco-design can come down with the economies of scale.

  11. Richie May 8, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Hydroponic doesn’t use soil. This is artificial growing. It’s tricking plants into growing using chemical mixtures and water. I think that the ‘Earthbox’ idea is much better. See: , . Eartboxes can work outdoors on balconies, terraces, flat roofs, etc. and it uses organic soil within a small footprint controlled growing system.

  12. ritika May 8, 2007 at 6:51 am

    nice concept! i’d love to have it in my house!

  13. pat May 8, 2007 at 2:19 am

    also where can i buy this, now, at a reasonable price, and in a way that is easy to install even for a rented apartment. if that is made to happen, this will have a huge market

  14. pat May 8, 2007 at 2:18 am

    this type of system makes so much sense! why are we wasting all the energy we use every day. this combined with the previous post for a green light is amazing. i would love to have these all over my house, and no longer waste all the power i use to light my rooms, rather grow indoor food year round

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