Desktoop 2.0

Nienke Sybrandy & Jasper Den Besten (Has University)

Kazerne Lab

In the Kazerne Lab, professional creatives work with different economic sectors in collaborative crossovers which can spark the inspiration for products which respond to current issues.
Designer Nienke Sybrandy has already investigated the possibility of growing food in the office. The result is Desktoop – a desk drawer transformed into a mini greenhouse – which was shown by researchers at the HAS Hogeschool to produce practically the same results as an expensive professional propagator. Nienke will be looking into the concept of 'natural' in the Kazerne Lab, and among other things, she will be working in collaboration with HAS on a DIY version of the Desktoop, as well as an associated digital harvesting calendar and an international information platform.

Desktoop 1.0

Nienke’s research was specifically directed at growing food in the fifth season; the office environment, where it is never cloudy and the temperature is a constant 19˚C, where there are no frosts or seasonal differences to cope with, but with holidays and weekends instead. She submitted her Desktoop to the close scrutiny of the agriculture, food and green spaces course at the HAS Hogeschool. And what did they find? The modified desk drawer produced practically the same results as an expensive professional propagator. The crops that did best in the Desktoop – and which are incidentally also the most acceptable as part of the Dutch office lunch – are various sorts of salads, herbs and cresses, such as watercress. Growing them requires scarcely any effort, and what is required can be done in passing – instead of doodling during a telephone conversation perhaps. The crop is freshly harvested just before lunch, and the latest recipes are the hot topic round the water cooler.

Desktoop 2.0

With the Desktoop 2.0, Nienke incorporates growing and harvesting into the office diary along with the usual conferences and meetings. The resulting calendar will be shared with the wider community; the research and the new office diary will be made available to everyone by means of an international information platform and the future development of Desktoop will also involve its users.

See also
The DIY version of Desktoop will be available from mid-September 2014.

Kazerne Social Design Lab

Thanks to the support of the DOEN Foundation, artists, designers and other creatives will be working on crossover initiatives to discover new solutions for societal issues. Taking a fresh look from a different angle, they will approach current social, cultural and economic issues with the inspiration and new perspectives required to find innovative solutions. This may sound rather high-flown, but it is in fact an extremely practical process.

Lab #01. Credits

Nienke Sybrandy
Jasper den Besten (HAS University of applied science)


Philips Horticulture


DOEN Foundation