Huge 3D-printed tree pots in the form of science flasks are to be installed in a ‘linear arboretum’ along the central axis of the Food Innovation Strip in the Netherlands, enriching the public space and providing valuable botanical research opportunities.
Located between the Ede and Wageningen muncipalities in The Netherlands, the Food Innovation Strip plays an important role in positioning the region as an international business location for innovative companies and knowledge institutions in the field of Agrofood, and functioning as a phsyical structure connecting the two areas. The axis covers a distance of 11km and forms the connection between Wageningen University & Research with the Business and Science Park Wageningen, the Kennis Campus Ede and the future World Food Center in Ede.
The focus of the public space for the Food Innovation Strip is coherence and recognisability, by making the Agrofood theme physically visible in the design of the entire axis.
Site-specific measures that anchor the axis into its surroundings are combined with spectacular interventions that emphasise the unique identity of the area – referred to as a ‘linear arboretum’. 3D-printed pots, filled with specially procured trees, will be placed in short strips along the route. The shape of the pot is based on an Erlenmeyer flask – the conical test tube that is present in every laboratory. The arboretum is a historical reference and the pots a contemporary expression of the research and innovation character of the companies and knowledge institutions in the area. The pots were designed by Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners and developed thanks to 3D printing in Rotterdam.
The shape, materialisation and manufacturing process of the pots give space and meaning to the innovative character of the area. In 2017, prototypes of the pots were 3D-printed and assembled in Rotterdam, and a team at Wageningen UR is currently researching the bio-based materials that are suitable and applicable for the project. The trees are now being tested to see which species thrive best in the pots and how the prototypes behave in outdoor areas.
Fifteen pots have been placed at tree nursery Ebben in Cuijk, with three copies of five different tree species — one tree is placed in a pot while the other two are planted into the ground. This ensures the trees can be tested to see the effect the pot has on the growth conditions of the tree and which tree species thrive best. The test phase is part of the implementation of the public space handbook for the food innovation strip Ede-Wageningen.
Felixx developed this manual last year on behalf of the municipality of Ede and the municipality of Wageningen, in close collaboration with the province of Gelderland and Wageningen UR.