During the summer of 2015 I worked in the Olin College Library with other students, alumni, faculty, and staff to “rewrite the library.” Our goal was to make the library more accurately reflect the culture of the student body and become a more useful space. As part of those goals, I created a set of eleven custom, modular planters for the library.
My primary goal in designing the planters was modularity. While the planters would ultimately have a “home” in one section of the library, they were equipped with casters so that they could be arranged and rearranged, or used for special events elsewhere. Functional drainage was essential to prevent overwatering, but I avoided a drip tray to prevent the combination of water and library books.
I was inspired by honeycomb for the shape of the planters, and appreciated the nesting qualities of hexagons. The outside of the planters are simple to place emphasis on the plants themselves. Cutouts along the wall panels hold the floor of the planters in place without additional attachments, and the lids fit onto the top of the walls, holding them in place. The planters were cut on a ShopBot, and walls and lids were attached with wood glue.
The inside houses an advanced drainage system. I used layers of PVC pipe, plastic mesh, and felt to create an air pocket in the bottom of the planters. After watering, excess water filters down through these layers into the air pocket, out of reach of the plant’s roots. A ventilation pipe connects this space to the air above, and excess water escapes as vapor.