NFP Synergy Office
Site Description: NFP Synergy are a research office based in Spitalfields, East London. They have recently moved into the office, which was previously a guitar shop. They have experimented with growing herbs in their kitchen and tomatoes in their front window.
Storytelling: ‘It was someone who works with Michelle’s idea to have some tomatoes and chilli plants, because we’ve got a big window with a lot of sunlight out there, so we thought it’d be nice to have some, and they kind of worked well for a while but then there were quite a few problems. People didn’t water them, they were drying out and getting a bit thin, and attracting – well, we don’t know if they were attracting flies, we think that was coincidental – and also, because they were on the windowsill, stuff was dropping down onto our manager, Brian.’ (Participant A, March 2009)
Opportunities: At this site the participants are willing and engaged. There are good communications in place in the office with timetabled opportunities for social gatherings etc… The office is web friendly, with some of the participants comfortable with using social networking websites similar to our project. There is a window space for growing tomatoes with good sunlight. The participants are interested in tending to the plants, and enjoy the performative aspect offered by the window space – connecting to the outside world.
Challenges: The contained space, not having natural ventilation, they need a project leader, getting people to water plants.
The Aims: To introduce a free-standing vertical growing system in the front window space.
Intervention: Indoor window space vertical growing
Background Research & Expertise: ‘We might need a bit of professional advice on what to do if there are pests.’ (Participant B) ‘We had an office knitting circle for a while…’ (Participant B)
Dream scenario: ‘if the whole front window was covered in amazing, colourful blooms.’ (participant A)
Key insights/ inspirational triggers for design: ‘because its quite a rationalized, intellectual business, I think having sensory things would be a really good counter-effect.’ (participant B)