In the climate crisis landscape, we seem to be experiencing a shift; sustainability is now a widely accepted necessity, we’ve stopped talking about single-use plastic and are realising ideas aimed at reducing (and undoing) our impact on the planet. We’re seeing aquaponic farming in cities, bridges made from manipulated vines, stone quarries turned into cultural spaces and houses designed to be overtaken by nature; these can all seem like grand gestures of sustainable innovation – gorgeous and important – but perhaps removed from what we can all hope to attain in our everyday lives. 

Happily, Tectum Garden – recognising the cabin fever engendered in many of us by office life, the common craving for green oases, and the desire to reconnect to nature’s cycles – is facilitating a route back to the earth that we can all engage with. The Catalan company was founded in 2020 and, as the brainchild of the Sostenipra research group at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, creates products grounded in ecology. The group of urban agriculture specialists is looking to make farming more accessible and wants to bring about green cities as a firm reality, in which hydroponic gardens play a substantial role. 

A hydroponic garden for the office

Vegetables growing in Kettal and Tectum Garden’s hydroponic garden in office space

Now Spanish design brand Kettal has teamed up with Tectum Garden to bring hydroponic gardens – and locally grown veg – to the office. Kettal has explored modular office pavilions in recent years, and this new collaboration cleverly unifies minimalist design and real-world change. 

The boxy structures that comprise the hydroponic gardens are made from recycled and recyclable materials, are compact, subtle and sit comfortably in interior spaces. A light substrate replaces soil in the indoor vegetable patches, making for easy management, and the plots are drip-fed water for maximum efficiency. Fertilisers are added to the water which, once nutrient-rich, is kept in the hydroponic cycle, reducing waste and allowing the structure to remain largely self-contained. The unit’s lighting can be adapted depending on the crop, giving way to a wider breadth of vegetational options.

The indoor gardens introduce a refreshing touch of greenery to indoor spaces and take an invested step towards altering our immediate environments, encouraging us to contribute to a circular green economy (and tempting us with freshly grown produce). §

Office space with hydroponic garden