Heirloom Seed Vault


School of Design | Communications Design •
Student | Shannon Lee •
Faculty | Xinyi Li •

The assignment was to create a speculative artifact that would suit future communities. My design was informed by centuries-old practices of seed trade and sharing economies, and suited for a shift to low-scale subsistence agriculture in the face of supply chain collapse and food shortages. It uses a decentralized model of crop cultivation and preservation, in response to the heavily insulated Svalbard seed vault, which currently stores the majority of global crops.

This image contains a speculative artifact for a seed trading vessel.

With the looming threat of global crop failure, endemic seeds can be cultivated by locals for food. The vault is intended to promote a culture around trade and cultivation in a localized system. They are designed to be handled and passed down in individual households– contra to the centralized monopoly of the Svalbard seed vault. Seeds are categorized by drought-resistant capabilities, as well as the ability to sustain fluctuating conditions and temperatures. The artifact is directly suited for regenerative farming and can be used in both rural and urban farming environments.