Material

Root

By

Made in

Biodegradable 236 Plant-based 172 Regenerative 52 Textile 94 Alginate 10 Glycerine 38 Water 32

Root
Root
Root
Root
Root
Root
Root
Root
Root
Root
Root

Photos: Paul Cochrane

Soundwall

Biological Approach:
This project delves into the fundamental role of sound, recognising its influence on matter through vibrations and emitted frequencies. While sound can lead to explosive, levitational, and distortion phenomena, it also demonstrates the capacity to affect cellular-level processes. Specifically, studies have revealed how certain frequencies enhance seed germination, root growth, and gene expression changes in plants. However, sound pollution on a macro scale poses risks to human health, including cardiovascular conditions, sleep disorders, mental health issues, hearing loss, and premature death. This raises the question: What if we could use sound to counteract these detrimental effects?

In response to this question, the Soundwall project combines biological and technological approaches to introduce a soundproofing wall for interior architecture. The biological approach of the project focuses on studying the micro-level impact of sound on plants to develop sustainable materials with dual functionality. White noise, a form of sound pollution as it contains all audible frequency ranges, has been found to trigger stress responses in plant cells, leading to a shift in resource allocation favouring root growth over shoot growth. Leveraging this knowledge, the Soundwall project aims to utilise sound pollution from the surroundings to cultivate densely-rooted materials. These materials, in the form of tiles, not only capture carbon during their growing period but also provide sound absorption properties during their consumption period.

Moral Approach:
Soundwall is a design project that aims to explore the macro-scale impact of sound on matter through the application of cymatic studies. By studying how sound frequencies shape matter, Soundwall creates tiles that visually represent these frequencies. When assembled into a wall, these tiles provide a tangible representation of the surrounding soundscape. The primary objective of Soundwall is to make sound tangible, unveiling its powerful influence on matter. Soundwall aims to heighten awareness of sound’s profound impact, inspiring designers and individuals to consider sound’s role in the design process. By bridging the gap between sound and design, Soundwall fosters a more conscious and intentional approach to design, recognising the transformative potential of sound.

Making process

The Soundwall tile production process spans 14 days, with a focus on scalability and durability. The tile moulds are stackable, facilitating efficient production without the need for additional watering or sunlight. During the 11-day growth phase, the grass's natural resilience and rapid growth rate are utilised. Controlled growth under balanced stress conditions ensures uniformity and strength. The grassroots grow into the moulds, using an embedded mesh scaffold as a structural support to solidify the tile and allow for the attachment of modular hanging systems, enhancing versatility during installation. After the growth phase, the moulded root tiles undergo a meticulous refinement process. Excess moisture is removed through drying, ensuring the stability of the final product. A biovarnish, composed of water alginate and glycerine, is meticulously applied to the back and pattern edges of the tiles. This biovarnish not only enhances the durability of the material but also provides additional protection. Subsequently, the tiles are carefully dried, and hooks are attached to the embedded mesh scaffold, facilitating installation.

Text submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank. For information about reproducing (a part of) this text, please contact the maker.

Ingredients

Grassroot, alginate, glycerine, water, scaffold

Credits

Master in Biodesign Central Saint Martins

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