Nicolai Bauchrowitz

Mai / May - 2020

Kunsthochschule Kassel



HERBAL HALO is a smart, modular growth lighting for herbs that can be equipped with several self-watering plant pots. The system can be adjusted in height and number of modules and can therefore be used as a room divider, but also as a pendant lamp. Thanks to a new type of LED lamps optimized for photosynthesis and an innovative irrigation system, the luminaire offers ideal growing conditions for herbs while reducing the likelihood of application errors such as too moist substrate or drying out. Thanks to an integrated bluetooth module, the luminaire can be integrated into smart home systems using an app and operated intuitively using a smartphone.

What is the Topic?

HERBAL HALO deals with the challenge of developing an aesthetically pleasing, functional and easy-to-use tool that enables the small-scale cultivation of culinary herbs in indoor spaces with little or no natural sunlight. The product should not only serve as a tool for plant cultivation, but should also bring out the plants in an aesthetic way through high-quality appearance and targeted, circadian lighting. HERBAL HALO is aimed at people in living in urban spaces without an own garden, who like to cook with fresh herbs. In particular, the product is aimed at those users where living conditions make it impossible for potted plants to thrive on the windowsill, such as in basement apartments.

Why does it look like this?

A phenomenon in many households is the large number of flower pots that block the window sills. In times of urban housing shortages, however, it is necessary to use the living space more efficiently. A system hanging from the ceiling is more effective in the use of space by using the vertical extents. Several hanging pots make optimal use of the space, since they do not need floor space and can be hung over existing objects. Due to the LED-lighting, the system is not bound to areas near the window. The design of HERBAL HALO is strongly connected to the functionality. Every detail is based on a functional component: for example, the integration of the growth lighting in the pot holders saves more space and the beam angle of the light is optimized by the semicircular lens elements. Thanks to the clear, soft design language and the light, structured powder coating, HERBAL HALO forms the simple counterpart to the ornamental plants housed in it.

What is special?

HERBAL HALO is a particularly beginner-friendly herb growing system. On the one hand, smart home technology is used in lighting, on the other hand, the physical effect of capillary action in irrigation is used. In order to prevent the roots of the plant from drying out or rotting, the water supply to the soil in the pot must be regulated. HERBAL HALO uses a modified variant of a traditional irrigation method from South America: A clay pot is dug in and filled with water. The water now diffuses slowly through the pores of the clay vessel due to the capillary action, which means that the surrounding earth is always moist but never soaked. This principle is reversed at HERBAL HALO: the inner pot lets the water in the planter slowly diffuse into the soil and thus always ensures the right level of moisture. The lighting with special LEDs serves the plants for metabolic processes. Since a plant needs very specific wavelengths, you cannot use a conventional light source: different light sources emit very different light spectra. The more similar the spectrum is to natural sunlight, the more benefit a plant can derive from it, since the plant is evolutionarily optimized for sunlight. HERBAL HALO uses innovative LEDs in several light colors that can almost completely simulate natural sunlight. Because the spectrum of sunlight changes throughout the day, the app automatically controls the duration of lighting, as well as sunrise and sunset based on the calendar day and time.

What is new?

Existing urban farming solutions are often technically complex and require immense maintenance. It is almost impossible for inexperienced users to achieve good results without having to deal extensively with plant science, irrigation and lighting technology. HERBAL HALO, on the other hand, is easy to use, because water only needs to be added every 1-2 weeks - all other parameters are regulated independently by the smartphone control. In contrast to previously available systems, no pumps or hoses need to be cleaned. The modularity of the system allows the user to determine on how many levels they want to grow herbs on, and the innovative, height-adjustable suspension system leaves plenty of freedom in positioning. All functions of HERBAL HALO are designed for maximum efficiency with minimum complexity.