Urbz' mission is to fuel imagination and enrich our understanding of the relationship between nature, science, and humanity.
On a quest for cool design elements to bring Nature into their home to stoke their young daughter’s curiosity with the living world, husband and wife duo, Maryann and Andy, who are both biologists and designers, were not satisfied with what existed. They decided to do what was in their DNA and create their own. Urbz was conceived in 2018.
The company name, Urbz, is representative of the increasing number of city dwellers and the need for us to feel connected to Nature in our urban habitats.
The first product released by the company was the Urbz® planter — a window planter for growing herbs, houseplants, and flowers on vertical surfaces like glass, tile, and mirrors.
The Urbz® planter brings Nature inside and makes smart use of small spaces. The window attachment technology was inspired by a gecko’s ability to walk up vertical surfaces, adhere strongly, and disengage without using any sticky residue (Nature inspiring design is known as biomimicry). Once on the window, the planter’s see-through design displays the earth just as prominently as the plants that grow out of it.
The window planter was a success, not just in its commercial debut but also in its original intention. It piqued their daughter’s curiosity. Roark wanted to know what she saw growing within the soil of the planter. And just like that, Urbz’ mission took root.
Urbz’ second product is a reinvention of the fam’s fascination with bioluminescent algae.
Side note: Andy co-founded BioPop in 2013, the company behind the Dino Pet (a bioluminescent dinoflagellate aquarium in the form of a tail-less apatosaurus). The Dino Pet was a huge global hit among geeks, moms, and kids of all ages. In 2018, Andy sold BioPop to a leading synthetic biotechnology company with big dreams. The new owner decided to change directions and the Dino Pet went extinct. Forever…?
After experiencing a two-month bloom of bioluminescence in San Diego in 2020, Andy wanted to share this beautiful natural phenomenon with people around the world again. Urbz resurrected dinoflagellates with the Mushlume UFO. One part bioluminescent mushroom and one part spacecraft with a tractor beam, the Mushlume transports bioluminescent plankton into your living room to enjoy from the comfort of your couch night after night.