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Designer, Simon Denzel
27th August 2017

Water: An interview with Simon Denzel

Inspired by the growth in urban gardening, London-based German designer Simon Denzel has developed a nifty greenhouse that can be hung outside your apartment window. The Fenster Farm, which is on show at Peckham’s Copeland Gallery as part of H2O-themed LDF show Water, even boasts a solar-powered irrigation system that keeps your plants hydrated no matter how busy – or forgetful – you are.

You only have to briefly scroll through Instagram to see that plants – from tiny tillandsia to room-sized monstera – are hot stuff at the moment. Not are these little green gems good for air quality, for general wellbeing and for making you look like a well-adjusted adult, growing herbs and veg at home intersects with another key trend – an increased interest in food providence, production and environmental impact. But for many city dwellers, especially those in vertiginous flats, growing space is few and far between. And although germinating seeds on your window sill with sandwich bags elastic-banded to the top of the post like little party hats might be good enough for Charlie Dimmock, it’s not very, well, chic.

The Fenster Farm render
Enter designer Simon Denzel. His new project, The Fenster Farm, is a small greenhouse that can be mounted on to the outside of an apartment window, allowing urbanites to grow herbs and vegetables at a height. Made from acrylic and a timber frame, the exceedingly Instagramable greenhouse also has an integrated solar-powered rainwater collection and irrigation system which has even be controlled by a timer so that holidaying, busy or just plain scatty urban farmers need not worry about everything shrivelling up through neglect. “I think there is growing interest in knowing where our food is coming from in general,” explains Simon, when we quizzed him about the need for The Fenster Farm, “but in big cities like London it’s especially prevalent because people are more disconnected from the origin of their food in everyday life.”
Previous project, HANK, by Simon Denzel
With works that include an Alexa-like AI that allows humans to communicate with the earth’s hydrosphere and a waterfall-powered light installation, The Fenster Farm is one of the more practical explorations of the Copeland Gallery show’s aquatic brief. But Simon, whose projects include the mushroom-shaped Hank table lamp for Made.com and interior design for graphics studio APFEL, wanted the greenhouse to make a larger point about sustainability and self-sufficiency and how important water is in that process. “The work treats water as a resource worth saving as well as a source of life,” explains Simon. “Rainwater is free, and in this country abundantly, available resource. The Fenster Farm harnesses it in order to feed plants that in turn help to feed people and give them back a degree of autonomy over where their food is coming from.”
Simon Denzels sketches for Fenster Farm
Visit Water at Copeland Gallery from 19 – 24 September. For more info visit www.waterexhibition.co.uk

Want more Water? Read interviews with Ola MireckaAndy SheenDean BrownFernando LaposseUnit LabJames Patmore and Henrik Nieratschker
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