Vanessa Harden at Designersblock 2009

September 4, 2009

The Subversive Gardener

UK based Canadian designer, Vanessa Harden (b.1980) is exhibiting as part of the group Disruptive Thinking.

Vanessa graduated from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto with her BDes in jewellery and metalsmithing. She has since been linked to various educational institutes, such as the MIT Media Lab, where she worked as a visiting research assistant. Vanessa recently obtained her Masters degree in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art in London.

Her work explores mainstream design processes by applying these to niche groups. Her projects identify areas within subcultures that can be explored through design, and enable the creation of instruments inspired by the unique behaviours of each specific group. These artifacts enhance social interaction and serve as metaphors, exposing the broader subtleties of human social conventions. Her practice questions the role design plays in the lives of those who live on the fringe of society.


The Subversive Gardener
This project looks at the Guerilla Gardening subculture. The members of this group secretly meet at night to illegally plant flowers, shrubs and vegetables in neglected urban spaces. Although their actions seem harmless, they are still viewed by the authorities as illegal and prosecutable. “The Subversive Gardener” explores various methods of disguising gardening paraphernalia in everyday attire and accessories, drawing on influences from militaria and spy gadgetry. Secretly dropping seed bombs on their way to work or planting flowers on their way home, these designs allow guerrilla gardeners to integrate their assaults into their everyday routine.

Vanessa Harden.

Designersblock London 2009 takes place during the London Design Festival over 5000 square meters of space alongside 100% Design in Earls Court One.

24 – 27 Sep 2009

Opening times:
Thursday 24 September 10.00 – 21.00 Friday 25 September 10.00 – 19.00 Saturday 26 September 10.00 – 18.00
Sunday 27 September 11.00 – 17.00

Register on the Designersblock website.