Imperial College London

Design Engineering graduates develop mini green wall for the home


A hand holding a watering can

Four Imperial College London graduates are reimagining the way houseplants are displayed by developing a self-watering mini green wall for the home.

The team behind Shirinoku have created the Noku Canvas, a new way to display houseplants as part of a modular system that would be self-watering, wall-mounted, and display plants like art. The canvas is specially designed to give those in even the smallest of homes a way to bring nature into their living space, by opening up the walls as a place to put plants.

Houseplant benefits 

Shirinoku’s four founders say that they experienced the mental health benefits of houseplants first-hand, which inspired them to create the Noku Canvas. The team lived together during the pandemic's lockdowns and often felt trapped indoors, with little access to green space.

After buying several houseplants they felt a noticeable change in their mood and happiness. The team recognised the benefits of houseplants but saw several issues with keeping them – namely remembering to water them and the plants taking up space or being forgotten in the corner of a room. 

With the Noku Canvas, plants can be displayed vertically, and the modular system allows the green wall to be built and customised by its owner. The wall-mounted canvas means that shelf space is saved and a 30-day water supply can be stored in the canvas’ water basin, making it self-watering through a hydroponic wicking system.  

The Noku Canvas on a wall

Forest bathing 

Shirinoku was named after the Japanese art of forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku – the act of visiting a forest to soothe oneself mentally. Shirinoku was founded by graduates from Imperial’s Dyson School for Design Engineering Luke Holland, Ben Collis, Marcus Melconian and Elvis Lee. The Dyson School was established in 2014 and fuses design thinking and engineering knowledge and practice within a culture of innovation and enterprise. 

The team are among the hundreds of student entrepreneurs at Imperial. The College’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem is supported by a range of programmes and facilities that promote collaboration with industry, support student and academic entrepreneurship, and help turn research into benefits for society. The College’s Enterprise Lab is the hub for student entrepreneurship, inspiring the next generation of innovators. 

Image credits: Shirinoku


Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications Division

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Comms-strategy-Entrepreneurial-ecosystem, Alumni, Strategy-alumni, Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, Nature
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