After more than two years of research and development, Daan Roosegaarde and his team of designers and experts have unveiled GROW, an environmental artwork of “dancing lights” that enhances the growth of leek in a 20,000-square-meter agricultural field. Unveiled as part of the world film premiere by the same name, GROW is the first in a series of dreamscapes by Studio Roosegaarde that explore how the intersection of art and science can both create a better world and be expressed in a visually beautiful way. The project was developed as part of the artist-in-residence program of the Rabobank with expert advice from Wageningen University & Research, Springtij Forum and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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person kneeling to look at LED lights

Located in the rural Dutch town Lelystad, GROW takes inspiration from the use of specialized LEDs to help grow crops. While assisted grow lights are typically used in indoor and urban settings, such as vertical greenhouses, Roosegaarde wanted to explore an opportunity to use these LEDs in rural, outdoor areas. The installation builds on continuing research in photobiology light science technologies that study how certain light “recipes” — such as the one used in GROW — can enhance plant growth and reduce the use of pesticides by up to 50%. 

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field of purple and red LED lights
field of leeks at sunrise

“The film GROW shows the development of this luminous dreamscape and how the beauty of light can help plants,” explained Roosegaarde’s design team. “GROW can be good for nature but also sends hopeful light to people. It gives a new meaning to the word ‘agri-culture’ by reframing the landscape as a living cultural artwork.”

blue and red LED lights in a field
hand touching leeks

GROW features four systems of light recipes consisting of blue, red and ultraviolet light that are projected horizontally over a plot planted with leek (Allium porrum). The LED lights are powered by solar batteries and are only turned on for a short period after sunset as a brief extension of daylight. Precision lighting ensures that the lights are only focused in a controlled area so as not to disturb the surrounding environment.

+ Studio Roosegaarde

Images via Studio Roosegaarde