"Asia has been one of the first regions to tackle food insecurity through vertical farms," explains Heeyeon Jung, Co-founder and Chief Design Officer at N.Thing. "However, in reality, it is still very unknown among the public because they are too far removed from it. Therefore, Heyeon and her team decided to take a different approach by communicating vertical farming to the public in the most appealing way possible."
Heeyeon is in charge of Sik Mul Sung, an IoT vertical farm showroom in Seoul, South Korea. Heyeon has more than three design awards on her name before starting at N.THING.
Heeyeon Jung, Co-founder and Chief Design Officer
Sik Mul Sung farm: New brand and way of storytelling
After putting lots of time and effort into this new branding and storytelling, the Sik Mul Sung concept was created. Sik Mul Sung meaning, Planet of the plants, is a city farm & a brand concept showroom based in Seoul, South Korea. One of the company’s visions is to set up a farm on Mars in the future. With this farm, they wanted to create a hypothetical planet with a setting between Mars and Earth. By using realistic colors N.Thing wants to get consumers better oriented into smart farms explaining each process.
Next to that, it’s all about an intuitive experience by seeing what it takes to grow vegetables in a controlled environment. Heeyeon says, “For consumers to have these greens on their plates or in a smoothie sometime later, makes them more connected to the product. They’ll feel more connected to the product than before.”
The Sik Mul Sung, city farm
Currently, consumers can order salads, ice cream, beverages and cookies mainly plant-based using ingredients and lettuce from the city farm located in this showroom. And its greenery products can be ordered online via Sik Mul Sung’s e-store.
“In order to expand into more farms, there has to be a synergy between the customer and vertical farms first. That’s why we have to expand into the market first, by presenting our farm using a new approach in branding. Now the products are there, customers will have the option of choosing to use them,” explains Heeyeon.
Products available at the farm
More to come in Korea and Southeast Asia
Even though the farm has been there for three to four months in Seoul now, N.THING is planning to expand the farm throughout South Korea. The company is still in negotiation about which places would be strategically suitable.
"We really want to promote it as a ‘One stop solution from farm to consumer', without logistics. Other options like the cafe set up as in the Sik Mul Sung Farm have shown to be very promising. There are so many options to or the cafe ones, there’s still a lot of options,” Heeyeon affirms.
Front view of the farm
Reaching ‘the green lifestyle segment’
Originally the company aimed to produce raw materials only such as vegetables. However, they are looking at ways to incorporate vegetables into products such as hats and bags. Heyeon adds, “In order to reach the ‘green lifestyle’ segment, this is one of the ways to do it.”
Besides the offering of consumer goods, N.THING also offers home growing kits and growing cabinets to households. The Nemomi for instance is a small hydroponic kit that is based on N.THING’s formulas and designed to grow plants. The N.Frame is a rag with optimized light settings that allow growing from 12 to 56 pots at the same time.
The Nemomi grow pod
The hydroponic systems are all based on N.THING’s tech and can easily be modularized into any customer preference. Currently, households can grow basil, tomatoes, mini aubergines, and many other herbs or greens. Heeyeon notes, “Therefore, we are going to rapidly expand our brand through these city farms and consumer products that are currently in stock.”