This planter was a project for my Introduction to Industrial Design class. The assignment was to design a small housewares product that solved a specific problem.
One of my roommates mentioned that she often forgets to water her houseplants every day. I thought this might be a good design opportunity, so I broadened it and started sketching some products that would help make plant watering easier to remember.
After getting feedback from my classmates, I decided to refine the self-watering planter concept (bottom right). With a few more sketches, I explored ways of combining the reservoir and soil compartment into an interesting form.
Another round of critique helped me settle on a final design direction. I wanted to avoid planters with multiple parts or ones where the plant would block access to the water reservoir. I ended up moving forward with the stepped design (bottom center) and started work on a CAD model in Rhino.
Critique showed that this early design had a few issues: the walls were too thick, the reservoir was a bit too small, and there was an unnecessary lip where the soil and water compartments joined. The straight-sided cube form wasn't very interesting either.
A few people also pointed out that a lid would help prevent evaporation, but would require some sort of viewing window to show how much water remained in the planter.
I went back to paper and made a few thumbnail sketches with this feedback in mind.
Guided by these sketches, I produced a final model in Rhino and then rendered it in a few different views for my final presentation below.
I also 3D printed a small version of the model. It's not designed with printing tolerances in mind but the file is available here.
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