Student Work: Hyunseok An's Algae Farming Design

The Coral

Hyunseok An [MID 20] is one of our graduate assistants here at the Nature Lab. Hyunseok is also the pioneer behind The Coral, an “indoor micro-algae farm designed to welcome algae into our everyday lives” and homes.

Inspired by the Korean term, “Ulrim,” Hyunseok strives to incorporate “inner reverberation” into his daily practice of making. His goal is to create “long-lasting impressions on our society” through sustainable design.

Hyunseok’s algae farm is both aesthetically powerful, and practical. Constructed with 16 culture cells, which make up the wall-mounted bioreactor, this streamlined device intuitively mimics symbiotic processes that occur in wild marine ecosystems.

Hyunseok wanted to reproduce the environmental and health applications of algae through a medium that is easy-to-use and looks unique in any home.

Through his eco-minded concept, Hyunseok aims to challenge people’s preconceived notions about algae’s existence. Beyond the slimy exterior, algae plays an important role in CO2 management, and awards consumers a variety of vitamin- and protein-rich benefits.

Each cell is equipped with purified water, salt, microalgae, and algae food. The cell follows a biweekly replenishment cycle, meaning up to two grams of microalgae (or spirulina), can be harvested per day. Over the course of two weeks, the cells transition from transparent, to a verdant shade of green, at which time the algae is ready to be served in your next smoothie!

The cells are decorated with a pattern that resembles branching coral--hence the farm’s name. Aside from capturing the imagination, Hyunseok wanted to educate users about the “environmental importance of algae through a symbol of revitalizing coral.” Coral bleaching is the worldwide phenomenon caused by anthropogenic activity, ocean acidification, and global warming.

Hyunseok hopes this product will encourage people to reimagine their relationship with algae and make a greater effort to incorporate nature into our expanding lifestyles.

To read more about Hyunseok An’s innovation, check out the following articles:

Grow Your Own

This kit makes it shockingly easy (and pretty) to farm your own algae at home

This New Algae Farm Makes Growing Green Superfood at Home a Snap

To see the algae farm in action, watch the video below!

The Coral: home algae farming
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