We designed and constructed one of the 13 pieces for ‘Villes et champs’, a public art and garden festival in Genève focusing on co-habitation of the urban and the natural. The site, a busy highway overpass, is out-of-tune with the idea of the landscape as a peaceful natural haven. Instead, the installation emphasizes the infrastructural character of the site and tries to prove that even these locations of traffic and car dealers – despite their anonymous and generic character that is seemingly devoid of any artistic value – can play an important role in the production of food and plants.

A closed system of transparent tubes clinging onto the bridge is used for the cultivation of algae, which grows exclusively on sunlight and CO2; two products abundantly present on the site. The organisms can be used to filter air as combustible biomass, or even as raw material for different cosmetic and alimentary products. A steel structure, supporting all the secondary equipment such as pumps, filters, and solar panels, functions as a marker for the quickly passing traffic and provides explanations on a more detailed level for pedestrians and cyclists. The pulsating movement of the algae signals practices of the future; the harvesting of goods in the dense environment of a metropolis, the conservation of green space, and the reinterpretation of existing infrastructures.

  • Name: Bioreactor
  • Location: Genève (CH)
  • Program: Public art installation, 1000 l/350m tubural photo-bioreactor with chlorella sorokiniana algae, information panels
  • Size: 60 m²
  • Commission: Full commission (SO, DO, CO, TO, in-house execution)
  • Period: 2014
  • Client: Association Genève, Villes en Cultures
  • Team: Ingrid van der Heijden, Joris Lipsch, Rene van Poppel, Floriane Pic
  • Partners: The Cloud Collective, LGem Europe
  • Images: The Cloud Collective

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