the Garden Factory (2013 – 2017)
Initiator, designer and builder of a edible garden on the rooftop of a large shopping mall in the centre of Utrecht. The Garden Factory started as a part of the international art project Call of the Mall and was later adopted by the owner of the shopping mall Hoog Catharijne as a more permanent work. In the seventies an outdoor public space was made on the rooftop of the shopping mall Hoog Catharijne. A cobbled square with benches, lighting and rubbish bins designed as a nice place to hang out. In the eighties, because of irregularities, the owner decided to close it for the public. Ester van de Wiel makes this space public again by designing a completely self-sufficient roof garden: the Garden Factory. Eating, composting, sowing, growing, harvesting, cooking form the production process of this Garden Factory. Rainwater is collected to irrigate the vegetables, herbs and fruit. The organic waste from stores is processed into compost that enables the Garden Factory to expand its production fields. Work is done by local residents and office workers. In addition there are worms, bees and chickens working as gardeners who have specialized in composting, dusting, weeding and hoeing.
In 2014 the garden was extended and moved to a roof nearby. To enhance the connection between the garden and the shopping mall below, a Soupkitchen was added. In 2017 the garden factory was relocated to ANNE, a living LAB on Jaarbeursterrein in Utrecht. More http://anne-online.nl
De Tuinfabriek was nominated for ‘Stystems & Services’ of Dutch Design Award 2014. Commissioned by Kunst in het Stationsgebied, municipality of Utrecht and Klepierre. More www.detuinfabriek.org