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Gardens of the future: exploring nature digitally – with the Hof Botanical Garden

Already at the beginning of the year, the media design course of the Hof University of Applied Sciences planned a cooperation with the Hof Botanical Garden. Among other things, a new orientation system was to be developed. However, the pandemic thwarted the plans: the lecturers were unable to work with the students in the botanical garden because of Corona

The garden as a research field

Instead, teaching in the summer semester had to take place exclusively online. All the more, the garden became a place of longing – and then even a field of study in the summer semester.

Photo: Hof University of Applied Sciences/Media Design

Interactive stations

In the seminars “Interaction & Information Design” and “Storytelling” with Prof. Michael Zöllner and Igor Fürnberg, a variety of media works were created: For example, stations in the Botanical Garden are explained via an augmented reality app. In “dataGarden” sensor data of plants and their environment are collected, processed and visualized. An interactive and informative virtual reality story stages scenarios of astrobotany.

A useful addition, not a replacement

One thing is clear: the digital space expands the garden’s offering: it does not replace a real tour, but it does allow visitors to take a look at it at any time – during a pandemic, for example. With the use of new media and narrative forms, a younger audience can also be attracted to the garden.

Photo: Hof University of Applied Sciences/Media Design

New perspectives and points of view

In the “Graphic Design/Editorial” seminar taught by Prof. Claudia Siegel, informative and sensually designed print products were created, such as a directory of the last primeval forests, a non-fiction book on the bark beetle, a compendium on medicinal plants by the wayside, and illustrated monthly booklets presenting the regional and seasonal fruit and vegetable varieties of the Hof Organic Box. The “Münchberger Spaziergangführer” (Münchberg Walk Guide), which combines lyrical, philosophical and political reflections, deals with the phenomenon of walking

Photo: Hof University of Applied Sciences/Media Design

Here, as in all the works, it is about changing perspectives and new ways of seeing. These are responsible, environmentally conscious messages from the young designers who are tilling the garden of the future with their contributions.

More information

For a virtual look at the gardens, click here:

More about the media design course

The Botanical Garden in Hof

Carolin Richter

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