The Microbial Home
Designing a home that runs on garbage and waste water
Royal Philips Electronics, the Netherlands based design firm, recently launched its Microbial Home concept at Dutch Design Week. The project is part of Philips Design Probes, a program developed to explore “far future lifestyle scenarios”. Ultimately their goal is to turn ordinary home outputs, like food waste, garbage, sewage and waste water, into assets that can be utilized within the home.
- A bio-digester kitchen island— a unit that turns organic waste from the home into a ‘bio-gas’ that can be used to fuel the stove and overhead lights.
- A Larder, which is a dining room table designed to store and grow food
- Bio-lights—lights that are powered by bacteria instead of electricity. The bacteria is fed with methane and compost taken from the bio-digester island.
- A paternoster, which is a composter that uses mycelium to break down plastic packaging.
The project reminds me a lot of the work being done by Mitchell Joachim, who is exploring ways to construct living homes through pleaching.
However far flung this type of work may seem, it’s reassuring to know that there are people out there actively pushing the boundaries of what is possible in home design and construction.
If you want a deeper dive into the Microbial Home system take a look at the firm’s web site here.
Bio-Digester. Bacteria and a steady supply of organic waste within the island produces a gas that can be used to fuel the range and overhead lamps. The dehydrated waste can be removed from the digester and composted.
Larder. A Terra cotta evaporative cooler in the middle of a reclaimed table top keeps varying types of foods at optimal temperatures. Above, food is grown, "on the basis of their symbiotic chemistry."
Bio-Lights. Methane and compost feed a bacteria culture within each glass cell to produce ambient lighting by bioluminescence.
Paternoster. This composter uses fungus to break down plastic packaging products. Mycelium decomposes and metabolizes the plastic over time. At a certain point, aperatures in the composter are opened to let in light and air. At that point the mycelium sprouts edible mushrooms.