© Photo credits TAKAHASHI Kenji – Photo courtesy of Tokyo Arts and Space


Concept: LarbitsSisters
Robotic arm programming: Gergely Péter Barna
Digital manufacturing: Gergely Péter Barna
Manufacturing assistance: Tomohiro Inoue
Incubator design and development: Thomas Ortiz & Gergely Péter Barna
Biomaterials: Kazutoshi Tsuda
Archiving support: Takumi Yoshida
Supported by: Production Grant Flanders Government, TOKAS International Creator Residency Program
Thanks to: Fungicha, KYOTO Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology Waseda University, Assoc. Prof. Kazutoshi Tsuda, Prof. Hiroya Tanaka, Prof. Hideo Iwasaki and artist and curator Ryuta Aoki.


To prevent the destruction of our ecosystem and a further global warming, humans will have to find an equilibrium with nature. An important step in this is to find ways to cooperate with existing ecosystems and organisms, instead of moving further and further away from them. What symbiosis can be formed or deployed that benefit both humans and the living environment?


From this question, LarbitsSisters conduct their research on Photosynthesising Flowerpots. The experimental project aims to shape a symbiosis between cyanobacteria and the structure of a flowerpot. The cyanobacteria completes the structure through biomineralisation. In this way, LarbitsSisters search for more sustainable processes that are so necessary in the context of climate change. Technologies that increasingly removed humans from living environments are being replaced by processes that enable rapprochement between humans and the environment.


Photosynthesising Flowerpots brings human artefact and living environment together in a symbiotic relationship. A porous pot structure and photosynthetic cyanobacteria grow in tandem to form an artefact. While the pot structure supports, or hosts, cyanobacteria and feeds them with soil, moisture, daylight and air, the photosynthetic microorganisms strengthen the structure of the flowerpot through biomineralisation.


This project on Photosynthesising Flowerpots searches for more sustainable processes so necessary in the context of climate change. The Crafts that have symbolised thousands of years of human civilisation, drawing man away from nature through art and the mastery of fire, are brought back to a reciprocal relationship with the living. Thousands of years of human craftsmanship are thus repurposed, reshaped, restored. And as in the living world, each flowerpot is manufactured slightly differently from the next, depending on the local weather conditions of the place where it ends up.


Research for Photosynthesising Flowerpots is being conducted with renowned academics such as professor, biologist and artist Hideo Iwasaki (JP), working at the School of Advanced Science and Engineering (Waseda University) and expert in photosynthetic microorganisms; the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE) in a joint collaboration with Dr Thora H Arnardottir (UK) and Dr Magdalini Theodoridou (UK) on research into biopolymers and the process of biomineralisation by cyanobacteria. Techniques for 3D-printing are being developed with Unfold Design Studio (BE)in collaboration with Omlab Studio for circular bio-based material research and design (NL) and Kyoto Design Lab (JP) to investigate on earthenware materials and structures for producing the Flowerpot.


Work in progress:


20/03 – 30/03/2025


Photosynthesising Flowerpots, New European Bauhaus Festival 2024, Fair Visions & Projects, Arts & History Museum, Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels.

09/04 – 14/04/2024