As we reflected upon the topic of “co-living” following the World Design Talk™ in Izmir, we came across a fascinating project led by young designers from WDO Member Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Puebla, Mexico: Dominik Bini, José Luis Galindo and Denisse Ojeda.

Rise is a smart carpet that seeks not only to improve people’s life but also to empower refugees to grow and harvest their own food throughout an intelligent carpet made of 100% natural materials.

We asked Dominik Bini to tell us the story of Rise and how, as Industrial Designers, he and his team aimed at using their expertise to help refugees and people in general, live better lives in cities.

The beginnings

Rise started as a school project that came to life after seven months of research and development, looking at the current refugee situation and the huge humanitarian crisis that surrounds it. The team decided to take Syria as a starting point. Along the way, more problems needed to be addressed such as infertile soil, security, life quality and lack of nutrients. This led the team to realize that all these concepts could be merged into something unique. That was the beginning of Rise.

We believe that the purpose of all designers is to facilitate life through design. We see design as the process or the ability to observe, critique and understand the world in which we live in and foresee the impact that our work can have in the different areas to achieve well-being.

The intelligent carpet made of 100% natural materials containing local seeds, liquid filters and other materials makes growing plants without fertile soil or water in non-fertile zones possible. The use of human urine as a liquid source allows the user to save water for personal consumption.

Current challenges and opportunities

Rise is currently going through the prototyping phase to improve technical elements. As industrial designers, they are faced with challenges in areas such as chemistry and agriculture science where knowledge and field experience is limited making the process slower.

Design is not a linear process or a secret formula that can just be followed to guarantee success. Design is a powerful tool that through empathy and emotions, allows us to understand needs and areas of improvement to configure what is produced, our environment, and by extension, ourselves.

Once the proper improvements are done, the team is hoping to start user-testing with different NGOs. The project has gathered interest from NGOs in Nigeria and Syria that are willing to try the product once it is ready.

The team already won the RSA Student Design Awards (SDA) and hopes it will be the first of many more!


More information about Rise on Dominique Bini’s website

Follow Rise on Facebook