As we enter the digital era, techniques of mass production and vertical separation of scaled up industrial processes become less dominant. They give way to distributed and networked ways of doing business. This touches the fabrication techniques, when using 3D printer, robots-manipulators, CNC and laser machines we can access locally around the world almost any producible element. Further more nowadays making unique and tailored products becomes increasingly more reasonable with parametric design and digital fabrication. Not only that, but even financing now gradually moves from single point major investment strategies to a crowdfunded campaigns with more involvement of the audience, with less risk and less intermediate steps. This makes it both easy to kickstart a project and hard. Since it requires a transition in perspective one might have on design and business.


Kickstart // Plantern – Introduction

The studio focuses on bringing design ideas to the public by developing a crowdfunding campaign, exploring initial intricacies of intellectual properties and introducing social leverages one might use to his advantages when representing their own works on design, fabrication funding and distribution phases as well.



Kickstart// Plantern – Team

Instead of taking a ready project and launching it as a product we decided to take advantage of social nature of the platform and combined various experiments and exercises we conducted while studying in IAAC: namely in digital fabrication and physical computing, – and developed a social cause one might be interested to be a part of and left a room for feedback in our design in order to further involve users.

Origami Photo

Kickstart // Plantern – Origami Photo

Therefore the Plantern was invented. It is a smart and stylish communicator between you and your plant. By giving power to the plant to react and to act we thought we would use ditributed intelligence. But not to exclude the user as it often happens with sensors and automated furniture elements, – rather include people by giving a certain expressiveness to otherwise static element of the interior. Your plant will no longer be passive element, but rather become a pet with with you have a personal relationship.

Plant Photo

Kickstart // Plantern – Plant Photo

Another important aspect of the design we wanted to “force” on the result – is promotion of distributed manufacturing. Not only is it better for environment if instead of shipment the object gets produced locally. But also having not just thoughtlessly acquired an element, but rather making it even more personal for the user. Additionally, this way a variation or repair becomes an easy and natural step, increasing overall durability of the Plantern.

Prototype Photo

Kickstart // Plantern – Prototype Photo

Kickstart campaign outline

First of all, in order to demonstrate the concept we produced a working prototype, that we would further develop once we kickstart it and adjust with the feedback of the backers. In order to communicate the intention on a personal level we recorded a video message from us to the user, explaining the cuse, showing the prototype and asking for support.

In addition important part of the project began social involvement with the audience. However the nature of the project is visual so the audience would be better involved on the platform like Instagram. Hence we prepared the Instagram page. This gives us opportunity to deliver future updates directly and more flexibly than the platform would allow. At the same time potentially exposing the idea to more people.


Kickstart // Plantern – Instagram

Finally, having uncertainties with the timescale we planned to have a scalable goals depending on situation. As a result we developed a clearly structured and relevant set of rewards. Then we developed detailed financial background we expected a development would bear and decided to adjust the quantitative aspect as plans get more specific. Furthermore, as explained previously we decided to limit the amount of actual physical prototypes to stress the importance of making we put into it.


Kickstart // Plantern – Rewards

Approximate Timeline

Kickstart // Plantern – Approximate Timeline


In conclusion, with the flexibility and communication freedom of the Internet and modern fabrication techniques, the overhang that usually comes with bringing ideas to the marketplace – starts to blur and disappear. Yet when the whole process essentially comes down to the shoulders of the creator a certain adjustments to the ways of thinking are required anyway. The creator does not exist in vacuum. He and he alone is accountable for the design itself. That means more personal relationships with the users and backers. That also means in depth planning of financial and time-management aspects of design. That means pitching skills in order to highlight the core benefits that might interest the user, that means being active socially.

Prototype Photo 2

Kickstart // Plantern – Prototype Photo 2

Most of all, to kickstart projects by crowdfunding the framework also involves shift from pure designer role to an inventor and communicator. Communicator between, on one end of the spectrum, the purely ego-driven ideas with the personal knowledge and, on the other end, the people interested in the product.


SE.7 Kickstarting innovation // A project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
Developed at Master in Advanced Architecture in 2018 by:
Students: Daniil Koshelyuk, Mohamed Ifthikar Noordeen, Ashraf Ahamed Basheer
Faculty: Anna Pla Catalá