The Coral Indoor Micro-Algae Farm

Rhode Island School of Design industrial design grad student Hyunseok An proposes households of the future tend, harvest, and use algae as a highly nutritious and sustainable food source using The Coral – a modular indoor micro-algae wall-mounted farming system.

Algae is a well-known food packing a considerable amount of nutrients within a modest amount of mass, containing healthy levels of calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, selenium, magnesium, iodine, and vitamin B12. Before squishing your nose about the premise of eating algae, note you probably already have – seaweed(s), chlorella, and spirulina are all examples of edible algae.

The modular layout of The Coral permits a schedule of growing and harvesting on a cyclical schedule. Each culture cell in the four-by-four grid wall frame of 16 total cells, contains around 2 grams of algae. The algae within is ready to eat once it turns dark green, The Coral producing enough algae to eat every day following a biweekly cycle of growth, harvesting, and replenishment.

The Coral also serves a secondary purpose – a visual and aesthetic representation of the effects of ‘coral bleaching.’ A subtle coral pattern becomes more evident as The Coral’s contents grow to become greener and greener – a symbolic reversal of the toxic death of reefs around the globe.

An describes the system as a “wall-mounted bioreactor” designed to promote a “daily ritual [of] algae consumption for a sustainable alternative of nutritional diets.”

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at