Giacomo Piovan

Department: Social Design

Farming the Pollution:

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

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

“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.

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Femke Rijerman