Giacomo Piovan

A field practice to turn soil contamination into a resource This research project focuses on soil, pollution, plants and on the opportunities that the relationship between these elements gives to our everyday lives. The research starts with an analysis made in collaboration with scientific universities (Wageningen University) and civil services (AbdK Eindhoven).People are not completely aware of the fact that a concentration of heavy metals in the soil has carcinogenic consequences for humans and is also destructive for the ecosystem. In this sense, soil contamination is a form of invisible pollution. As a designer this observation sparks my curiosity about the processes constituting these elements, which are both vital and toxic for humankind. Accordingly, I propose to use soil pollution as a topic in creating awareness in our society. A manual for analysis, connection and remediation of soil pollution is presented. With this research I aim to empower people to act on soil pollution using tools and systems. “Farming the pollution” is a project of soil remediation that develops scenarios about exploiting specific plants to clean heavy metals from soil. A study of this methodology called phytoremediation has been tested in an area of Eindhoven. The area has been polluted by heavy metals and remediated with the use of specific plants for a period of 6 months. Besides the functional benefit of cleaning the pollution, this thesis project suggests a scenario for using it as a resource. The remediation system opens a dialogue between man and nature, creating a new economical model able to address the presence of soil pollution.

Graduation project, 2012
Photographs: Femke Rijerman