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A bench that gives you a rest and helps the earth. We think outdoor seating should do more than look good and provide a place to sit. We think it can actually improve the environment it's in too. That's the idea behind Phytobench, a seating element that grows phyto-remediative plants capable of cleaning soil while simultaneously creating infrastructure for beautiful public space.

Phytobench works by using a composite of various recycled materials embedded with plant seeds to grow plants that spread across a soil landscape. The plants Phytobench grows aren't like most plants, they're "hyper-accumulators." They possess resistivity to toxicity in the soil caused by the presence of heavy metals, chemicals or pollutants from things like pesticides, and other industrial processes. Growing in the soil, they "bio-accumulate" pollutants or render them inert within the soil through chemical transformations. The plants can even be mined to re-purpose the chemicals they absorbed!

To initiate the process, we place Phyotbench on a site anywhere from a public park to an open brownfield, to a golf course, and even your own backyard or rooftop garden. A series of porous components allow rainfall and plantlife to penetrate the interstitial air space within the bench. On an array of “teeth” forming the bottom surfaces of the components, the replaceable seed-embedded composite is attached. During heavy rains, central channels at the heart of each component collect water The water is funneled down to the seed-embedded composite. Fed by water and the nutrients within the composite, seedlings germinate, the composite substrate eventually dissolves, the bench anchors in the soil, and the seedlings grow into volunteers that spread out and repair the surrounding soil. The beauty of Phytobench is that it can also be used to beautify any outdoor space through growing plants and flowers. So even if you don't have soil to repair, you can use Phytobench as a greener, more colorful alternative to typical outdoor seating.

Honorable Mention, Seoul Design Olympiad 2009 Competition
2010 Metropolis Magazine Next Generation Competition NextGen Notable