This plywood pavilion produces algae as food source

Space10, Ikea’s external future-living lab, developed the Algae Dome, a four-metre high plywood pavilion that produces micro-algae as a food source.

The alga is a photosynthetic organism, which means it uses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into energy to grow, and produces oxygen as a byproduct. Micro-algae are one of the world’s fastest growing organisms. Some species are capable of doubling in volume in only six hours. They do not take up lathe amounts of land and can grow in non-potable water.

Space10 sees it as its mission “to design a better, more meaningful and more sustainable way of living”. Algae contain twice as much protein as meat, and it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. Some edible strains of algae contain more beta-carotene than carrots and more iron than spinach. Because of these nutrient properties, Space10 believes algae have the potential to become the super food of the future.

The plywood pavilion houses a photo-bioreactor, which functions as a closed-loop system that produces large amounts of micro-algae. Micro-algae could be used as a form of nutrient-rich food, as a replacement for soy protein in animal feed, the development of biofuel, and a method to treat industrial wastewater. The dome is able to grow up to 450 litres of micro-algae in 3 days. To prove spirulina’s worth, Danish chef Simon Perez developed a number of recipes using the micro-algae, including crisps and adding them to dough to make bread, and hamburger and hotdog buns.

The Algae Dome was designed in collaboration with three young architects, Aleksander Wadas, Anna Stempniewicz, and Rafal Wroblewski, plus bioengineer Keenan Pinto. The dome was first shown at the CHART art fair in Copenhagen in 2017.

Photos: Space10 / Niklas Adrian Vindelev