Among the international trends that tell the new post Covid-19 lifestyles, the presence of green in indoor spaces is certainly the most long-lived and predominant.
Plants but not only; shapes, textures, natural elements of all kinds if introduced in the design of spaces - as the biophilic design dictates - contribute to improving air quality, mood, productivity. But also to reduce stress and help you to experience domestic environments, now hybrid, and also those purely working in a more comfortable way.
Among the innovative realities that make 'green living' and the circular economy the heart of their project there is Hexagro, the Milanese startup that is developing the first urban farming platform with the vision of guaranteeing access to healthy, nutritious and sustainable food at km 0 to anyone, anywhere.
When the company is born from a university thesis project
The startup Hexagro was born from the degree thesis of Felipe Hernandez, founder and CEO, dedicated to regenerative agriculture and pesticide-free agricultural technologies. In 2015, Hexagro was awarded among the finalists of the Biomimicry Design Challenge and since 2016 it has started its activities in Milan.
The name is also the result of experimentation: 'Hexagro' derives from the combination of two words, hexagon - the distinctive shape of the startup's products - and agriculture. Moreover, the hexagon is the most efficient form in nature, compact and versatile, concepts that inspire Hexagro to develop scalable, efficient, automated and sustainable vertical farming solutions.
Living green, with technology and design
Adopting eco-sustainable lifestyles, without excluding a priori the technological contribution - but rather exploiting it in favor of a green approach - is possible. Hexagro in fact combines technology and biophilic design in order to make every environment the ideal place to grow food. It does so through internal and external vertical farming systems, designed by the startup to reduce the traditional food chain and introduce the experience and lifestyle of urban agriculture in a horizontal way.
These are modular indoor vertical gardens - in shape and finishes - and scalable, inspired by the principles of biophilic design and well contextualized in any indoor environment.
biophilic design was born to bring a new way of designing and thinking about the places where we live, work and are educated, in order to reconnect people to the natural world through the use of materials and architectural elements that recall nature through the five senses.
The advantages are obvious: they increase cognitive abilities, creativity and work performance, as well as happiness and mood. Following the model of nature can be of great benefit to everyone: this method of innovation is it calls biomimicry. It is, in essence, an innovative method in which the first step is to understand how nature has already developed similar solutions and apply them in other fields.
The Living Farming Tree takes inspiration from the structure and efficiency of trees, thus creating a configuration with 'branches' that it can grow in height and width exactly like a tree. The cultivation modules recall the hexagonal shape of the hive cells, and the soft lines of the latest design recall the natural shapes of trees, landscapes and natural conformations.
Having a Living Farming Tree where you live or work is therefore a concentrate of nature in a small space, thanks also to the wood finishes and above all to the richness of fresh plants and fragrant grown inside.
The Living Farming Trees are not unique only because of their design, but also because they are 'high tech' gardens: it looks like an oxymoron, yet it is a model that can be made thanks to technology aeroponics, ie landless cultivation and reduced water consumption.
Areoponics, a technology that is good for us and the environment
The vertical gardens designed by Hexagro minimize water consumption - a commodity that never before needs to be preserved and vintage - and facilitate the absorption of nutrients by of cultivated plants. This therefore makes the finished product more efficient from the point of view of consumption, but above all much better on the taste and health side.
In Living Farming Trees the plants are placed in different modules placed at different heights - they are artificially suspended - and their roots absorb water and nutrients in the container below. Water and nutrients are in fact sprayed directly on the roots, which allows growth up to 3/5 times faster than traditional crops.
The water dosage and the intensity of the lights are controlled by the IoT system, making the system completely automated and designed to optimize plant growth.
The automated management software monitors and controls each agricultural parameter of the garden remotely, through specific sensors connected to the network.
To complete the experience, and therefore to integrate the 'playful' and fun part of the introduction of a technological vertical garden by Hexagro, there is also the app for smartphone and tablet, which allows users to easily manage their crops, even remotely.
Community and sustainability
Thanks to the network of activated systems, Hexagro is creating a real community of users and partners who share the same vision for a sustainable food system and resilient.
The unique experience created by the Living Farming Tree improves wellbeing by ensuring access to healthy and fresh food and encouraging interactions between people.
The connection with plants, combined with the availability of fresh food and the discovery of new technologies and flavors, facilitates the creation of a healthy environment and reconnects people to nature, food and others.
One of Hexagro's missions, which aims to facilitate a more streamlined and simplified approach to urban and km0 agriculture, making it easy and accessible, is also to collect data and information on plants, on the people who approach this lifestyle and on the places, to provide users with an increasingly engaging urban farming experience.
All the technologies and know-how developed by Hexagro and the community are used to promote social projects and support urban communities all over the world, in contexts where the consequences of global warming , land degradation and urbanization are affecting farmers the most.
"Through our social projects we are able to close the circle of our sustainable impact" explains Alessandro Grampa, co-founder of Hexagro. "By bringing these technologies to developing countries, we are really moving to give access to healthy food to anyone, anywhere".