uroboro domestic vermicomposter formed by marco balsinha
uroboro domestic vermicomposter formed by marco balsinha uroboro domestic vermicomposter formed by marco balsinha
apr 06, 2016

uroboro domestic vermicomposter formed by marco balsinha

uroboro domestic vermicomposter formed by marco balsinha
all images courtesy of marco balsinha




the compost, much more than a simple bin, is a deceivingly difficult object to design. the artifact’s numerous practical concerns force the creator to integrate pragmatism and aesthetics into a cohesive whole that not only does its job, but looks good doing it. ‘uroboro’, a vermicomposting system by portuguese designer marco balsinha, manages to hit all criteria.

the ‘uroboro’ – a domestic vermicompostor




its shape derived from trees, the compost conceptually — and literally — brings nature into the home. composed of red clay ceramic units, ‘uroboro’ merges the material’s visual qualities with its innate ability to act as a moisture mediator and odor filter. four unique pieces form the basic modular structure; one which allows for vertical expansion.

uroboro domestic vermicomposter marco balsinha
earthworms can be placed within to aid in breakdown and to increase soil health




atop the base, a telescopic bin is placed. this unglazed form, which has an open bottom, is then plugged using a glazed slab and cork stopper. the two sections’ different surface qualities allow water to seep downwards and veggie slop to be pulled upwards by roots as it liquifies. this process is aided by the fifth — and most likely not-included — component: earth worms.


video courtesy of marco balsinha




the worms act as an accelerating agent in decomposition. due to their speediness users can see, much in the same fashion as one watches paint dry, the process occur. markings on the side of the ‘uroboro’ planter represent the break down of an apple. the further along the compost is, the deeper the plant sinks. in total ten prototypes were produced, the most successful being translated into a single final design. the ‘uroboro’ system was presented by marco balsinha as his master’s of product design thesis at ESAD caldas da rainha — IPLeiria.

organic wastes can be continuously added to the terracotta base

uroboro domestic vermicomposter marco balsinha

markings indicate the general timeline of decomposition

uroboro domestic vermicomposter marco balsinha
as waste degrades, the plant recedes further into the compost

water generated is collected in a bottom deposit and sealed with a cork

‘uroboro’ is for interior domestic purpose

uroboro domestic vermicomposter marco balsinha
of ten prototypes, six were successful in intended function



designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions  feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: nick brink | designboom

  • I want this!! Will it be available for purchase sometime? Open to bartering for advertising? (I work in a permaculture hotel, we could possibly buy many for the rooms!)

    Emily says:
  • Is this product available for purchase?

    Elizabeth Ewanchuk says:
  • Functional,simple and pleasing to the eye!

    Michael Ivas says:
  • Where can I buy this?

    Marta Schipporeit says:
  • I would like to know if this product is for sale anywhere, and how much it costs. Thank you.

    Valerie B says:
  • seriously, i need this. how can i get one???

    emili says:

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