friendly table design and raw materials

here is the first final design of the farm tables.


this is a farm table designed to be build together with the families that are involved in the social cantine of taula amiga foundation. we think is important that people are involved with the design and building process. you know.. you make it and then it becomes part of you :)

we calculate 60 woods of 2000x100x20 per table. but before we came to this number we went to visit a sawmill. sawmills are not common this days.. like josep fontova said ” familiar sawmills are disappearing all bought by big corporations” so in practice you can not get wood from local resources and when you go to a big store you pay 6x more for the same type of wood and you don’t know where it came from. plus when you go to a sawmill you can ask wood with no treatment, that fits better to our goal of building a healthy container for our food to grow.

since we where here we took some woods to start making the prototype ;)

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MACBA lettuces

on the 12th of november I went with sebastian to give a small workshop about transforming e-trash in a automatic watering system. this workshop is inside a wider educational program made by opensystems to the macba museum.

we needed a small farm so that we could implement the watering system but the museum doesn’t have any farm or garden so we decided to design one, prepare all the pieces and build it together. this is the first drawing :)

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so we need a structure that could be easy assembled and we had certain limitations: it must have wheels and it must fit on the museum elevators :)

so here are some pictures of the building process and at the end you have a pdf manual that we made to care and maintenance of the farm. you can also find documentation and the 3Dmodel on the wiki.

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refarmthecity wiki link

opensystems blog link

BJDW last days

yeah.. 8:00 another grey day today.. guilherme will fly in a couple of hours

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we still have to take apart a exhibition but we already miss beijing and this dream team.. had a great time working this last months with emilson and guilherme.. you guys got a green medal on the virtual wall of fame of refarmthecity :p hope you guys have enjoied your academic practices on a uncommon organization, reach your goals and learn new things. I surely did ;) now that we are on the credits, a special thank you for our curator gerard altaió. his intusiasm and confidence in our work set a higher bar. g, hope that we meet your expectations ;) a special thanks also to meimei our producer and chinese mentor. she run kilometers on her ebike to get the materials we needed and sometimes we were 3 on that bike + packs :) she was the bridge between us and the beijing reality. great work meimei and tks for your food suggestions, with out it we wouldn’t survived this 3 weeks ;)

last but not the least, a special thanks to cristina and eva from llull, lin lin and pei pei from re-up, all the participants in the workshops and of course all dashilar people, you have a amazing neighborhood.

ok, so let’s take all screws out.

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we have separated all the beer cans of last night party and when I was heading the exibition I found this women. she buys cardboard, plastic botles and metal. we’ve got 5¥ ;)

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all the used woods that we used. cleaned and sanded.

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all the screw we used. ready to be used again :p

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all the materials used for the exibition. 99% reusable and renewal materials ;)

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BJDW day#7

tomorrow is the official opening on bjdw. the exibitions will only open friday but tomorrow on the afternoon we’ll have the press and the openning party at dashilar’s market ;)

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pilar and william came to give a hand.

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23:30 and we are still putting seeds on the tubes but we have all the other parts of the exhibition ready :) tomorrow morning the plants arrive and we are done. what a week.. we worked hard but we made it!!! tomorrow let’s celebrate!!!!

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last note on the building were we have the appartment. our neighbours don’t know what is a trash can and every night we arrive home there is mixed trash all over the hall and corridor. they just open the door and trough away. can be a tv a ipad box or the rest of someone’s dinner, you open the door kick the trash, close the door and by magical it desapears. now imagine a hole city like this ;(

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BJDW day#1

ok we are in beijing again :)


next weeks are full of activities: first we’ll start a 2 week workshop to build together our exhibition. the idea is that people can enter inside a house and visualize what tools do they need to sustain urban agriculture on their home. we started to planning this 2 months ago so now we have almost all the materials and tools needed but also a small community of 8 people willing to join this build together workshop. and we’ll start tomorrow with a tour on the neighborhood get screws and reclaiming materials such has wood, containers and home appliances.
we made already a draft of what we need to build and draw.

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we’ll document our process, has always, but posting will be erratic since in china we can not easily access to our blog.. wunther why..
if you are around join us, we’ll have fun, make things together and eat delicious food :) also guilherme and emilson came with me so caipirinhas and good music are guaranteed ;) by the way, we plan to put our mojitos farm on action. check the beijing design week program to see where we are and come and get a free mojito, caipirinha or a delicious chinese tea :p
so let’s get to work we need woods ;)



mei mei, our producer :) dealing with prices.. here things never have a price, you must always negotiate.


after we got the woods that were missing we when to visit the neighborhood were we are working and visit a special friend, lin lin. she and her team have a beautiful space just in the middle os dashilar. it’s called re-up and since is so close to our workspace we’ll also make some activities here:) great place tks lin lin ;)

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and now our place. this is how we found it:

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talk with students about ocean contamination and ecodesign


today I gave a talk to the students of Visual Comunication and Design in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. I started with this article and then show pictures of cris jordan. them I moved to ecodesign telling my personal evolution has a designer with stories were I found trash designed by me and how I now approach to design with considerations for the environmental impacts during the lifecycle of a product. Rio de Janeiro, has all the big cities, still make today the worst examples on how our daily live cause huge damage to other species that we share the same round planet.

trash in rio de janeiro


interactivos? 2013 resume

you know.. good things always reach a end.. this were 2 amazing weeks were we came to make one thing and finished making 4 :)

mesa trabalho interactivos13

for the ones who never printed on a 3D printer and think it seems so easy, you have no idea.. and the press have talk and talk but rarely puts the hands on a printer. ars has the most honest press cover I’ve saw. so let’s start from the beginning. we came here to make a low power faucet that could be printed. after some initial research we found many models on thingiverse that could be adapted to our needs. we give up the designs that flows water inside cause it’s impossible to have precise measures on a 3D printed object and then impossible to water seal any mechanism so we went to another approach: let’s print a mechanism that can close and open a real faucet. with this approach we could implement the watering system on virtually any faucet. we also saw that printing gears was delicate and that means we need to print big gears to compensate the small errors. in the meantime with so many starts and stops on the 3D printer other projects popped from those 20 amazing brains that eat, work, drink, laugh and slipped together for 16 days. the first that came was the mini hydraulic ram. the idea came from elflin and it’s a recurring problem in our designer’s heads: how to pump water from the bathtub to the toilet on a old bathroom? we produce many hand draws but we didn’t finished a complete 3D model only the mini water valves. magrão documented the process here on the nuvem’s wiki

one day a new 3D printer came. we didn’t had place for her so we built a table :) this was our project #3


we also debate and advanced a bit more on the electronic board “mini vacations” with thiago. in a couple of weeks we’ll send them to the press. 3 packs: one to barcelona, one to san francisco and other to rio de janeiro. surian will get the boards in rio so if you what one ask him :) surian was also involved on the next project the #5: monitoring of the composter built by joaquim. surian documented everything here.

well “galera” (bruno, chintia, julia) I think it was the best and the most immerse interactivos? that I ever have been.. I’m sure that medialab_prado is proud of you and how you worked the open model of interactivos workshops ;) congratulations!!

I will not mention my collaborators mainly because everyone collaborate with all the projects. I made new friends, laugh all the time, spend a great time surrounded with exuberant nature and brilliant humans ;)

we will continue our development on the 3D printed e-faucet and the other projects. expect more news soon.

stay happy, people in RJ can teach you that ;)

interactivos update

do no were to start :) maybe for the morning face washing on the river that flows on nuvem..


then the breakfast

morning-breakfast morning meeting


and here a visual resume of the last days.

this is the faucet that we need to control:


we have started from designing valves that can be made in 3D print



then we design a mechanism that can be adapted to the faucet. this one is moved by a servo motor.


and then we printed :)


we will continue this development for the next 9 days. you can check the wiki of nuvem for a day by day report. more news soon ;)

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uau!! 2 lines that made us jump of joy :) so next september you will find us in brasil developing a electronic faucet/valve that can be made in a 3D printer. here you can see our proposal.

I’ll keep you posted on the developments here on the blog and on the wiki. please if you want to contribute feel free. the e-valve is a complex project so every help is welcome ;)

kitchen farm

we need a small farm to be a demo on our workshop. andreas design this one and we built in one night hehehe we call it kitchen farm. it’s indoor and contains those plants that you like to have fresh when cook, like parsley or fresh tomatoes ;)

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amazing composter mixer

I love this moments when you find something brilliant, low budget and low tech :D

check this out! is a old spring from a truck and it’s used to aerate the composter. you give some turns, raise a bit so that air enters in the midle of the layers. remove by turning conter clock. you make this in 4 diferent spots and your composter will have a oxigen boost ;)

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came to gijon this weekend to another ecolab meeting. it’s amazing how much work has been done in 7 saturdays..

this weekend we build the lake, took care of the plants, draw some diagrams and worked on the cartography of the space.

ecolab funcion list diagram

keep following this co-work here



some screen shots

with proud we present some screens from the visualizar’11 workshop :)

it were 3 amazing weeks…. 12 persons working on this project 24/24.

ok, with some beers and some parties in the middle, hehehe, as always madrid has received us like no one on the planet..

soon more new from the future develop of this tool ;)

small, pretty and blasting :)

são paulo report and some considerations.

we try this one here in são paulo. the nano vacations.

don’t let you misleading by the nano scale. ok, it’s small (the diagram is 1/1) inexpensive 2$+ecofootprint, and can be mostly scavenge in a city.

still on the scale perspective and scales we don’t see, most of our electronics work on micro, nano or pico scale but the above inexpensive ecofootprint can be bigger than the 2$.. can be a 2K$.. we just don’t know.. I didn’t make the maths on the energy embodied  nor the ecological impact of our tools.. how many tons of minerals are dig from mountains and were are this mountains?

we extend the live of some materials but we also use a small % of new materials.

we also got “bugs” on the electronics hehehe in january I got this

20 tip 120 on a electronics market in beijing by 10$. when you connect 12v to them they just blow.. so insted of a tip120 darlington transistor I got 20 units of a 12V non reusable bomb that gives a blasting sound. if  this is exactly what you were looking for, I can sell them to you:p

so we just setup the watering system without the nano blasting board.

located here and by the bytes changed with pixel, the last day of the workshop was on the garoa hacher space.

wau, what a place.. full with electronics, friendly people and geeky too :) being geek is one of the most intensify intellectual activities in our days apart of fun, open and creative. thank’s guys ;) you will be a great partner of the SP re:farm group.

back to the small, pretty board: the idea is just to have some control over a system that has a bottle that recovers rain and a windshell water pump that handles the watering. the moister sensor (has a tribute to this guys) was made with local materials.

we got this boxes on a country fair around the corner.

daniela brought her used filter,

we got the water pump 2 doors away by 10RS

we got the soil from an hippic place

the bottle was gently offered by a local store (it’s amazing how people give you things when you ask materials to make a urban farm :)

in 3 days we got local materials, build one re:farm, one vermi-composter, eat good food, good drinks and of course made new friends :) looking forward to come back heheh


new ultra low budget re:farm board (aka mini-vacations)

we have been working on this our A3 re:farm. everything fits on a A3 envelop ;)



we need to change our strategy over the electronics. the arduino platform is to expensive and truth to be said is like that guy that as a big car to drive on the island. we really don’t this that much electronics or processing capability of the ATMEGA.. so let’s shrink the design of the board and reduce the bill :)

A3 refarm electronics

pressure switch communication

So it definetly works!!!  My depest repect to you Mr. Medici. Your self automated watering sytem is the best low budget automated watering sytem and it beats all comercial products. 10 John Meda simplicity points for your design. I definitely fall in love with it :).

What i have seen is that it took nearly 49 houres for the plant to consume sufficent water and to overcome the hight distance between pressureswitch and ceramic sensor to do the switch.

To do the reverse operation it took nearly 50 min or to be less precise 1 hour. I handwatered the plant with about 400ml of water , directly , no dripping system. Thats the next point about this system. If it is indoor it must be precise , otherwise you water your carpet too. This will be relationated with the tubes-diameter, folds and switches inside the system, the kind of valve and pressureswitch, the waterpressure, the hight of the watertank etc.. But it is not a real problem you can addjust all this parameters with the height of the pressureswitch.

waste or food

by traveling from city to city I find different sources of the stuff I need, different ways to get to them and big differences on how its each city manage the inputs and outputs of resources. one of the outputs that we have been very concerned here on re:farm is the organic material that a city produce and it’s mostly wasted in big cities. more than wasted, is being mixed with paper, plastics or glass making the “eventualy” recycling process even more painfully. all the organic material produced by our kitchen, restaurants, markets and their super relatives are the raw material for your first step into farming.

you need to get good soil and cheap and this is very easy and simple: our organic waste is food for worms and their waste is food for our vegetables. with this in mind we are gonna setup this new mega composter at Andes and monitor the life of the worms and friends.

the winter is coming so we don’t expect a big grow in the worms population. as everything in nature this will take time. we will follow the live of this object and also see how the materials applied evolve. I’ve design a house for worms with places for them to rest, feed and live. a hexagonal frame?! why not? inspired by nature and a link to the global ecological disaster that is happen right now in the bees superfamily and with their unique position in our live cycle. hard days for our vegetables and belies will come without the bees ;( follow the evolution of this project on this dedicated page


20kg max luggage on the airport. I’ve brought 16kg. I assume that I’ll get some extra stuff with me. what I really didn’t want to fly back are books that I have at home. here are some of my books that I already miss ;(

waste from Tristram Stuart

cradle to cradle from William McDonough

biomimicry from Janine M. Benyus

and here are two of them that luckily I also have a pdf version. 1 kg each one

physical computing and make things talk both from tom igoe

this one I was on the reading process so I’ve brought him with me.

so if any of you have this books at home and you live near ny, bring them to eyebeam, let they live with us until 15 september and we will offer you one drink from our mentha-farm ;)



materials #8564*?!#!#*?=

last june when we discovered the tennis balls as a low budget solution to divide one input of water to many, maintain the pressure equal on any output and the cherry was that this object, since its made of rubber, the connections are always leak proof. we scream a eureka after the brain storming and went to drink some beers. the day was over and full of glory. apart of being worldwide available, its not always that you find a easy solution for a complex problem of design that can be posted on our wiki and implemented on all the refarm groups. I was very happy with this solution until I came to ny.. last week when we build the menta farm for eyebeam Basak when to get some materials: tequila, sugar, lemon, limes and tennis bals. a few days before I sent a massive email asking for old tennis bals and we got none.. apparently tennis is not so popular on our days.. so basak went to a sports store and got 3 for a dollar:) and then the disaster happen.. after cutting the tennis ball and force the tubes to enter on the holes the rubber started to crack..

no idea why.. the fact that they are new is my guess. maybe the rubber needs some tennis matches before she his ready for our farms. further tests needed on this field. now it’s time to theorise and then make new field tests :)

materials and design

click on the image and let janine benyus led you the the best designer of the hole planet: nature.
nature designs with what is handy, with low energy involved, room temperature, normally inside/with water with no waste, no hazardous and totally biodegradable. and she does it to create the most amazing materials with qualities like strength or resistance that no human product ever archive. think about the spider lines or the shell of a scarab beetle. a lot to learn from nature and the book is there we just need to make science looking to the right answers.

share the design and share the knowledge

we are not here to sell electronics nor boards. that’s why we share the designs and have a wiki, you can make your own refarm. there are no big factories producing our boards only small ones and they are the refarm groups that we are step by step spreading all over the planet. for example we are now in buenos aires and we don’t have any board with us. we contacted a local factory DAI ICHI (the only factory we fond with environmental concerns) we send them the designs and they are gonna make 20 boards for our workshops and the cceba farms. since we love process you can have a look on buenos aires flickr set and take a tour on DAI ICHI.
we were very welcomed by mr. henrique shoji. it will take 1 week to produce them so in the mean time we are going to find the components. I think farnel has some kind of representation here in argentina.

despise all this intents to get everything local from the seeds to the soil there aren’t components manufactures spread all over the planet. all the electronics in our days are produced in china and her neighbors. amazing china :) china has also more than 1000 different varieties of rice!! we definitely must go there:)

this is why we are here. we want to share the vegetables, know their conditions, their properties, how they fit on your gastronomy and on your urban farm.

after working all day in our wiki.. now we are gonna share some beers with articultores group :)

U.K.I farm


black and white. this was the feeling that I had when I first saw this 4T of etrash parked on hangar.


during the following week I’ve been scavenging for raw materials over this trash. the white feeling comes with the joy of having all of this etrash to get amazing parts following by a black cloud of pollution, toner powder, acid from batteries, and all sort of hazardous material all mixed and without an easy way to isolate them from being absolved from my lungs and skin. today the human body have  300X times more chemical compounds than 100 years ago. for example cadmium is widely used in industrial processes, as an anticorrosive agent, as a stabilizer in PVC products, as a colour pigment, in the fabrication of nickel-cadmium batteries also phosphate fertilizers show a big cadmium load. this human-inbody-pollution comes from the paint that we use on our houses, the cleaning products, the VOCs that most of our teckno-gadgets free every 24h of every 365 days of the year and are also present in our food.. basically in the cities we are surrounded of potential health problems and we are sharing these with all the animals and plants that also live in this planet.. and these 4T are a mirror of this. to put this things worst, nothing is designed for disassembling.. you must have 3432 different kinds of tools to take apart everything and most of it is glued forever. the artist sue lea that is having a residence at hangar is the responsible of this landscape. one day of etrash from barcelona city in front of us.

4 tones of toxic waste.. tears fall from my eyes.. this is a very dark thing to reflect on. and the nonsense part of all this is the great amount of money that the consumers paid for this trash, the great amount of expensive materials like gold, silver, aluminium, coper, plastic and totally functional motors, pumps, powers supplies, screens, rare magnets buff you name it and its all there on this 4T.

but having access to scavenging this trash had a price:) sue lea asked me to develop some futuristically plants :) on work is about UKI a post modernist fragmented replicant that lives in a world of etrashscape where love and sex are not connected. so this was the exercise: make a farm for UKI word. so I’ve proposed to sue lea 2 plants: one poisonous and one aphrodisiac :D


apart from the science fiction exercise I was able to test some technical solutions that I hope to apply on re:farm. I now have a big box full of steeper motors, magnets, wires, resistors, condensators, etc.

these have been some amazing days, taking all the guts from Ibooks, powerbooks, pc towers (great power sources 220AC to 12V, 5V, 3.3V DC) hard disks, cd/dvd/flopy readers (powerfull magnets, bright round blades, steeper motors and precision mechanics) printers (motors, wells, …) more time I had more stuff I’ve found..


It was a pleasure working with sue lea, she is good mood in person :) Tiago (from was with us, nuno guerra, andreas puk, loida gil, nia silva and natércia silva all gave a great help.

27ºC in the compost – data visualization

wormonster- temperature visualizerone thing that was boring me a lot was the fact that I was spending too much time in front of the computer instead of being on the farm :) so I’ve built a low-budget-way to visualize the data without having to look at the computer screen. the above picture is from the “wormonster” that I made to monitor the temperature of my combox (a prototype from thanks petz;)


the idea is that you make one object and have multiple data visualization. this “wormchicken” is easy to make: you print the chicken, glue it on a cardborad, print what kind of data you want to visualize, add some recycled electronics, one arduino, upload new code, connect the sensors and voilá :)

as soon as I have the code ready (programmers needed:) and the diagram of the electronics I’ll post the DIY instructions.