Make your bonsai magical with the Air Bonsai Garden that levitates your beloved plant to a spectacular effect.
When moving to the city it’s hard to have plants or keep a garden depending on the size of the space you have. Garden enthusiasts adapt by learning to grow smaller plants in smaller spaces. Bonsai trees are the best small plant because you have a large tree that can be 8 inches tall, trained in a bonsai pot. Urban growth means the demand for these beautiful little plants has grown and the inclusion into an interior brings a much needed green to your space.
Magnetic levitation or magnetic suspension is when an object is suspended with no support other than magnetic fields. To counteract the effects of the gravitational acceleration and any other accelerations, a magnetic force is used. This is where the Air Bonsai Garden idea came from to combine these two elements to create a unique product that is 100% Japanese.
Like most product ideas these days they started their campaign on Kickstarter to get people involved and see how well it performs. After a massive success, they run through all their stock and are now in the pre-order for the next batch. We were the initial backers of the product and some time ago we finally received the package and did a review.
In this review of the Hoshinchu Air Bonsai Garden we will be talking about the campaign, the time of delivery, the packaging as well as the design, setup and look of the bonsai when levitating.
This is a product deeply rooted in Japan’s long tradition of minimal design that combines old ceramic techniques with stone and modern technology. Launched by Hikaru Hoshi in Spring 2015, “Hoshinchu” means “star people” and their message is to value Earth through art. The floating bonsai is a representation of our planet and the care for the bonsai is what inspires people to take care of it in the same way.
Comprised of only two elements, the “energy base”, and the floating stone means it’s easy to setup and balance. The trickiest part is transplanting your existing plant into the stone. The energy base is made of traditional Japanese Imari porcelain with a beautiful glossy finish and sits on three tiny legs. On top, they used a darkened mirrored surface plate that sits flush with the edge.
On our Air Bonsai Garden, we have the optional lava white stone sourced from the Sakurajima Volcano in southern Kyushu. It’s a lightweight stone finished by hand which means every piece is unique. Along with the base and stone, we also received the Arita plate which holds the bonsai stone when the base is not in use. Every product comes with a one-of-a-kind Japanese silk cushion that’s meant to protect the furniture from the ceramic legs of the energy base.
All the items are designed and made in Japan and this shows through all the beautiful details that can be seen only in that part of the world. With great patience and attention to details, the finished product is one of high quality.
Being a product that represents Japan’s tradition of ceramics and bonsai gardening it was only natural to use a traditional wooden packaging that is precisely made to house all the items. The “Kiri” Box, as it is called is made of Paulownia wood and is very lightweight but strong at the same time.
Before opening the lid of the box, the paper sleeve with the Air Bonsai branding must be removed. Inside we find the reading materials and all the items you need to create the spectacular bonsai display. The energy base is wrapped in traditional orange Japanese fabric that protects its glossy surfaces of any accidents. The rest of the items are wrapped in paper that contains the brand’s newspaper with info about everything that’s going on with them. Other items are wrapped in large posters that have printed some nice images on them.
Included in the box we find the Energy base, the Lava stone, the Arita plate, the silk cushion and the power adapter. If you choose to hand finish your stone they include a small piece of sandpaper. We’re impressed by the whole packaging as this is our first time reviewing a tech product that incorporates so much traditional Japanese techniques.
Since its launch in January 2016, we were intrigued by the idea and backed the project on Kickstarter. We were told the expected delivery was around October the same year. Our unit arrived at the end of November so there was a little delay but it’s normal with these type of projects. Eager to start the unboxing we prepared for the review.
When unboxing the Air Bonsai Garden we were surprised at the care with which every fragile ceramic item is wrapped. All this really made us feel like we brought a piece of Japan into our space. Curious to get it floating, we plugged the base in and started to balance the stone. We were not sure about the size of the stone as it was the smallest one we’ve seen that was supposed to hold a plant. The cavity was small for any plant, let alone a bonsai tree with roots.
Not knowing the force of the magnets we made our first mistake when the stone flew out of our hand and scratched the mirrored top plate. Balancing the stone safely requires two hands and patience as well as a cover on the top plate to protect it from possible accidents. We balanced the stone pretty fast the second time around as we learned the whole technique. Depending on how you balance the stone it can start to rotate at different speeds.
The stone is porous and brittle thus leaving debris and dust everywhere you put it. A thing to keep in mind is that if the power goes out, the stone will fall on the base and damage it. If you have a backup battery solution, that could help it continue to float even when the main power goes out.
Because we had such a small stone with no room to plant the bonsai we emailed them to send a replacement. Nobody answered our attempts of reaching them and that says something about the support the brand has to offer. They can deliver a product but can’t offer support after the purchase.
When you do have a plant floating in the stone, the product attracts all the attention as soon as someone enters the room. It’s definitely a talking point with anybody that has never seen something like this before. It makes the room more interesting by adding the wow factor.
If you want one of these Air Bonsai Garden for yourself, check out the rest of the models they have to offer on pre-order on their website.