In a world where technology and nature often seem at odds, there are those who strive to bring them together. This shared ethos is what helped to form Crùbag's relationship with Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), resulting in their collaborative project, 'Plant Science is Beautiful', combining science and art into an inspiring tapestry.
Crùbag's was commissioned by IGS to develop a textile collection inspired by their groundbreaking work. IGS develops cutting-edge vertical farming technology for premium plants grown with precision, at any time of year, anywhere in the world.
Together with scientists from the James Hutton Institute (JHI), we set out to merge the worlds of crop science and art, crafting a contemporary collection of luxury silk scarves and pocket squares that celebrate the deep-rooted relationship between IGS and its customers. At its core, this project is more than just a collection of scarves – it is an anthology of stories that celebrate people and planet.
The inspiration behind the IGS collection, 'Plant Science is Beautiful' is reflected in Crùbag's own ethos and ocean-focused work—'Marine Science is Beautiful'. By shedding light on the astonishing beauty hidden within the natural world, the collection creates a renewed connection with plants and everyday crops, taking a closer look at the intricate patterns and designs that exist within them through pattern and colour. Three main stories emerged: feeding the world, innovation and climate change.
IGS vertical farm growing basil
Feeding the world
The first story explores the idea of feeding the world, looking closely at crop science and the development of vital food sources. By dissecting the inner workings of potato tubers, we discovered a vibrant yellow dye, making pathways to transport sugar from the nurturing mother plant to the newly developed tissues.
The stomata of the basil leaves, shown as dark spots and sometimes shimmering with aqua fluorescence, breathe life into the often-unseen wonders of plant biology. These tiny epidermal cell structures – crucial for gas exchange and photosynthesis – are transformed into captivating focal points.
Different designs were created by overlaying the pattern of these pathways, emphasising the small intricacies that happen right before our eyes. It unveiled a story that not only feeds our body, but also our curiosity.
Capsella seeds (commonly known as shepherd's purse) are small and unassuming in appearance, but it's important not to understate their economic value. Cross sections of a cellulose-stained Capsella seed revealed its self-preservation, as it creates protective layers within the cell structure. These inspiring pieces help to showcase the intricacies of nature's microscopic wonders and present our daily crops and plants as never seen before.
Plant Science is Beautiful: Feeding the World - Basil leaf organic silk scarf
IGS vertical towers with red led lights
The second story is told through innovation. IGS's vertical farms have helped revolutionise agriculture, enabling year-round cultivation of crops within urban spaces.
Bright crop images have been blended with the radiant glow of LED lights, creating lush pieces inspired by IGS' Growth Towers. They celebrate sustainable agriculture, but also serve as a reminder of the potential for creativity when we embrace innovative technologies and their interaction with the natural world.
Plant Science is Beautiful: Innovation - Led Lights & Lush Crops organic silk scarf
Climate change takes centre stage. We have explored the anatomy of a beech tree stem, along with the process of rewilding trees (using seedlings grown at IGS' Crop Research Centre in Dundee, Scotland).
The chloroplasts responsible for using solar energy and carbon dioxide to create plant food are revealed in these designs, emphasising the critical role trees play in mitigating climate change. However, trees face grave threats from pathogens that can disrupt their vital functions – this is even more the case in a warming climate. There is an urgency to safeguard our natural world, something IGS helps with by growing healthy tree seedlings all year round.
Plant Science is Beautiful: Climate Change - Beech Tree Stem Section Green organic silk scarf
Drawing inspiration from IGS' Growth Towers, the scarves capture the essence of young spruce seedlings—starting conifer—and symbolise the hope and promise of sustainable forestry and rewilding landscapes. It serves as a poignant reminder of the critical importance of maintaining biodiversity and preserving ecosystems in our ongoing battle against climate change. Rewilding represents a paradigm shift in our relationship with the natural world, offering wildlife the opportunity to adapt and flourish and preventing species from slipping into extinction.
Plant Science is Beautiful: Climate Change - Starter Conifer organic silk scarf
The 'Plant Science is Beautiful' collection is more than just a fashion statement – it's a statement of purpose. It highlights the tireless work of IGS and their pursuit of innovation in agriculture, and in tackling the biggest environmental challenges of our time. It embodies their commitment to a more sustainable and ecologically responsible future.
"It was a pleasure to work with Crùbag all the way from initial ideation, to bringing the designs to COP28. We love how they turned out!" The IGS team.
These scarves serve as a tangible reminder that beauty and progress are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are inherently intertwined, and by embracing this interconnection, we can build a better future.
Plant Science is Beautiful: Climate Change - Rewilding organic silk scarf
IGS Collection at COP28
IGS showcased their cutting-edge vertical farms at COP28, securing important alliances to tackle climate change and promote food security and innovation at scale in the Middle East. IGS used their new collection of scarves and pocket squares "Plant Science is Beautiful", designed and produced by Crùbag, as a gesture of friendship to connect with an international audience of global leaders, policy makers and future clients and to also share important information about their work. Every scarf was accompanied by an information card and booklet, and was presented in a luxurious and plastic-free IGS gift box.
"Just look and wonder at these amazing silk scarves designed by our friend Jessica Giannotti at Crùbag, including microscopic imagery supplied by our friends at The James Hutton Institute. Some of these gifts are in the hands of world leaders and royal families, thanks to the contacts we made at COP28." David Farquhar, CEO, IGS.
Congratulations to IGS, who have now announced a new partnership with ReFarm, supported by Christof Global Impact (CGI), SSK Group UAE, and the UK Government. The objective of this partnership is to develop a GigaFarm in Dubai's Food Tech Valley, which will be capable of replacing 1% of UAE food imports. This project aims to promote innovation, food security, and sustainability, and construction of the GigaFarm is set to commence soon.
IGS CEO David Farquhar greeting His Majesty King Charles III at COP28. David is wearing an IGS Collection pocket square.
If you have any ideas and are interested in collaborating or learning more about Crùbag's B2B services and how our organisation can support yours, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
IGS develops cutting-edge vertical farming technology for premium plants grown with precision, at any time of year, anywhere in the world. Through continuous innovation, brilliantly simple design, and a refusal to accept conventional thinking, IGS' core mission is to shape the future of food production. IGS offers innovative, scalable solutions to tackle climate change and food security worldwide.
Crùbag is an ocean-focused, interdisciplinary textile design studio and materials innovation lab based in Scotland. We merge art and science, collaborating with marine scientists and research institutions to create artful textile collections and material innovations from the ocean that reveal and share the unseen beauty and knowledge of the ocean, and inspire a deeper connection with nature.
The JHI is a world-class research institution at the forefront of innovative and transformative science for the sustainable management of land, crops, and natural resources that support thriving communities. They engage in new ways of working across disciplines, collaborating with business, policy, and society. Their core mission is to deliver greater food and environmental security through science, connecting land and people through creativity and innovation, and seeking the advancement of knowledge.