Idea Engine

The Living Lab

an in-home ecosystem


industrial design/ speculative design

the living lab 

The Living Lab acts as a criticism of North American agricultural systems as well as the impact of increasing automation in this area. These prototypes explores the idea of a home agricultural system situated in a post-industrial economy. This speculative space is marked by an increase in consumer level information technology, where information, knowledge and creativity are valued above mass manufacturing. The living lab is a prototypical system of tools for producing what is needed, using local production systems. 


LivingLab - by Andre Baynes & Ashley Jane Lewis.jpg


Representing a future in which nature is part of the home. This work-table gives its user a place to simulate a living ecosystem; learning and observing the complex relationships between organisms. This version focused on a table top design, providing a surface to analyse, manipulate and propagate with different tools. In the exhibition the table was meant to tell the story of K’s ecosystem research. Other work in the space was selected to provide context for her room. Having this piece in the exhibition was useful for providing an example for the kind of set design and production planning necessary for future spatial aspects of the project.

This prototype was developed to test the viability of keeping a simulated forest floor alive indoors. The table’s was designed to be fabricated using fairly accessible materials, poplar wood, birch plywood, concrete, steel wire mesh and acrylic, seated on two sawhorse legs. The design incorporates a water tank with two ultrasonic misting devices. The mist is pushed through plastic tubing using a small fan.

This piece was constructed in collaboration with Ashley Jane-Lewis. Installed at BAND gallery during the Hacking Black Futures Exhibition as part of the Toronto Offsite Design Festival.


microsystem incubator v1

The device monitors light levels, air/ soil humidity, and temperature, displaying this data on the LCD screen mounted under the grow chamber. It includes a water reservoir, fan and pump for automated watering, lighting and temperature regulation.

Players interact by collecting local plants and attempt to create a self sufficient small scale ecosystem. The device reacts with text messages to different user inputs.