THE VERTICAL GARDEN OF SOCIAL AND SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
Citysens was born out of the restlessness of Xavi Rius during his Doctoral Thesis. Together with Francisco Andrade and Par Blanking, they begin to explore the possibilities of bringing nature to our homes.
With the aim of facilitating and avoiding the main barriers to enjoy more nature at home or at work, the lack of time, space or knowledge to take care of them, Citysens was born. Today we talk to them about their company and their products.
ALTERNATIVE FARM GARDENS
What is Citysens? How do you explain to anyone interested the difference with a pot of conventional cultivation? What type of plants can we grow in this system?
Citysens is an entrepreneurial project where we want to provide solutions to bring nature closer to the daily lives of people who live in cities.
We live between too much cement and asphalt, in our case we have opted for design to offer a different solution to traditional cultivation, as many people tell us that they have no time or space to have plants at home or work.
The Citysens garden is a vertical pot system with self-irrigation, ideal for enjoying all kinds of plants at home or at work.
Citysens was born through a successful Crowfunding campaign where more than three hundred people participated in bringing the project to life. Has this previous interest materialized in an interest in the product in the market?
Yes, we are very happy with the reception the product has had in the market. The Crowdfunding campaign served to validate that the product made sense to many people, not just us. It was the initial push to start.
HIGHLY SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT
Energy efficiency, saving of water and nutrients, 100% recyclable materials. We are facing a result with a high standard of product sustainability. Can we also talk about a production process with this same environmental requirement?
Yes, in the product design phase, we checked that all materials and the use of resources were sustainable. That’s why we use recycled materials (black model) or 100% recyclable. 90% of our suppliers are Spanish, which ensures that we generate minimum environmental impact during transport.
All this effort has been amply rewarded with some of the most prestigious product design and sustainability awards. Do these types of awards represent a commercial boost or do consumers not consider them? On the other hand, does it represent a greater future demand for the company when it receives this type of award with such repercussions?
Yes, we are very happy with the awards received. It supposes above all a support to the good work done. In sales we have not noticed a significant change from the awards, but it does strengthen our confidence that we are doing things well.
As far as the future is concerned, we are about to release new products, and the demand is above all on ourselves, because we want to increase the positive impact on the environment and society through new products.
SENSE OF SOCIAL COMMITMENT
Another way to show your commitment to sustainable development are the collaborations carried out by the company. In this case with the Santa Teresa fundation, could you talk to us about this project? What does it consist of? What does it report to Citysens?
For Citysens, social commitment is essential. As a team we are motivated that our work serves to make a fairer society.
In the development phase of the project we got to know the Onada i Fundació Santa Teresa projects, which work with people with different abilities at risk of social exclusion.
They told us that in Spain only 25% of people with different abilities have a job and that they have a long waiting list of (very capable) people to be able to work. They need a job! That is why in Citysens we are very happy to form a team with them and we hope to continue growing to give them more work each year.
As you yourselves state, why do you think it is so important to «bring nature closer to people’s everyday life»?
Because nature gives us so much! You only have to see what we all do when we have a couple of days of rest…we all escape to places closer to nature! makes us feel better, relaxes us, avoids stress, not to mention the benefits on the air we breathe. Having plants nearby helps us all.
Do you think there is a certain parallel between the domestic interest in owning plants and animals and the respect for nature and sustainable life or is it just another social label?
We believe that sustainable living involves being in contact with what makes us more people, and moves us away from what makes us feel like machines, such as consumerism, using and throwing away, and so on.
Plants and animals connect us with nature, and being able to enjoy it in our daily lives is a luxury within everyone’s reach.
Tell us about this new concept of work in which you are immersed, where you intend to open the Citysens workshop to street people. What is a Focus group? What is the aim of all this? Is it a commercial strategy, social and environmental responsibility or both?
The Citysens workshop is a space where we intend to offer new solutions, based on collaboration with users, suppliers and designers. A focus group is a meeting between everyone in which we talk about issues that affect us and we see how we can give them a common approach. We hope to have news soon to be able to explain them to the Ekohunters community!
With your purchase you are contributing to promote a change towards a more environmentally respectful consumption and industry.