A symbiosis of nature and technologies / Lexus Design Award Shortlisted/ 2018

Over 20 years ago scientists discovered that all plants in the true forest are connected in a “wood wide web” with their roots linked by different types of mycelium helping them to communicate with each other. Trees and plants can share news about upcoming dangers, supply nutrients to weak species, primarily to their children. Plants can feel when they are hurt i.e bitten by the caterpillar and warn their neighbours so they all will extract a specific scent harmful to this particular type of attacker. It’s very important for them to be together and to live as a community to be healthy.


The average human spends around 90-93% of their life indoors. Latest research shows the connection between the time spent inside buildings and negative health and comfort effects. What if the reason for that can be hidden in lack of natural environment around us? How to update existing building and structures to improve the quality of life and close the gap between nature and us?   


Inhalable Matter is a symbiosis of philosophy, nature, biology and technologies. The system is a decentralized “living organism” that integrates into interior spaces to form new environments. This indoor landscape supervises inhabitants and visitors with true nature experience and optimal climatic balance.

Using Cairo pentagon structure we developed a system of interweaved functional layers supporting the whole cycle of a plant’s life. It purifies the air, humidifies and creates environment good for people’s health and mental state of mind. Bigger plants are planted in pots interconnected with mycelium into one network while smaller ones are placed in

hydroponic pipes. Water in I’M is cycled: hydroponic pipes bring the water down to the water tank where it is being cleaned and pumped back up inside water pipes that also serve to humidify the air when needed. Cross pipes provide additional light for the plants to grow healthy.


I’M sensors track air quality such as humidity and temperature to adjust system performance to be suitable for both humans and plants. It also reads the plant’s bio-impulses and converts them into the light signals to report the systems mood with the gradient from red(sad) to blue(happy). In addition, the light system contains LED light with blue light for plants to grow and green light is needed by people. It provides light therapy experience for visitors to treat the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that strikes in the fall and winter.


We collect information about the project space measuring natural light, air humidity and amount of people shaping the system in various configurations, thus providing different scenarios depending on the usage of the space.


We hope that I’M would help to change the future of building environment and reconnect humans and plants.



In collaboration with Nataliya Nemkova and Alexander Hadzyakou