Carole Collet

Thomas Maincent


6th December 2013

Exploring how nature is offering us new ways to create, develop and make Biodesign -On the Cross Pollination of Nature, Science and Creativity exhibition is on till the end of January in Rotterdam.

The idea behind the exhibition is showcasing newly developed materials and applications that use biology for design, art and architecture.

Based on the fantastic book BioDesign that is a valuable compendium of many of the designers and materiologists I have blogged about over the years -this exhibition brings it all to life.

Alongside Carole Collet and snail poo paper Dutch Designer Erez Nevi Pana is showing his furniture and objects made from soil that is then baked like bread.

'Soilid' is a combination of soil, fungi and other naturally occurring materials. Mixed to a recipe based on volume and weight the mixture is left over night at room temperature to 'rise' similarly to bread and doubles in size.

It can then be moulded and baked. After baking it hardens and is hard enough to be sanded resulting in another environmentally friendly new material made from natures waste.

Troika plant fiction

Cactus Project

Shamees Aden

Natsai Chieza

Bee Vase

Phil Ross


1st May 2013

Sadly I am not visiting Paris in the coming months and was unable to attend the private view last week, but I have been assured that the exhibition Envie/Alive that opened last week in Paris curated by Carole Collet is fantastic.

Interestingly most of the work is not new to me or those who work in this field, but it is for the first time that it is all under one roof.

Tackling such difficult subjects surrounding synthetic biology the exhibition showcases designers and artists who are exploring the bioengineered world.

Presenting a new design landscape with a glimpse to our synthetic future and a new ecological consideration the exhibition groups them under 5 headings

1/ The Plagiarists: (Nature as a model) those who look to nature to engineer man made and digital solutions.

2/ The New Artisans: (Nature as a co-worker) - those designers who are collaborating with nature to craft future consumer goods

3/ The Bio-Hackers: (Reprogrammed, ‘synthetic’ nature) designers working with synthetic biologists and who are engineering living organisms for a possible hybrid future

4/ The New Alchemists: (Hybridised nature) combining biological and chemical (non living) technology these designers merge robotics, chemistry and biology

5/ The Agents Provocateurs: (Conceptualised and imagined nature.)
Pushing the boundaries to the extreme these designers explore the ethics around living technology as well as high-tech sustainability.

Alongside the exhibition ‘En Vie-Alive’ is hosting 4 designers and architects who are already working with synthetic biology or tissue engineering and has them set up in a lab style scenario showing the new tool kit for designers of the future - DNA and bacteria.

Memorabilia Factory

14th November 2012

I am particularly interested in memory at the moment and especially after reading the fantastic mega article in the new scientist about how they now believe that our memory is not so much about remembering the past, but actually about arming ourselves with tools that will help us navigate our way through and predict the future!

Also very interesting are Besty Sparrow's theories on transactive Memory which also offer up a new take on how our memories are evolving.

Looking at a way of 'capturing' a memory in a physical object rather than a memory in a photograph for example are Bold Design
with their memorabilia factory.

Inspired by a bacteria testing kit for beaches to check for harmful bacteria they have designed a playful kit that allows people to make models from sand in places they have visited and make replica's of the rock formations at the beaches.

Using a harmful bacteria called Sporosarsina pasteurii it hardens sand resulting in various shapes that act as souvenirs.

Combining the ideas of captured memory and bacteria, another favorite topic of mine this is the perfect project! And here
you can read a previous post that also explores building with sand.


1st August 2012

Much research is going on looking to the importance of bacteria and algae for alternative resources, power, food and architecture, but asking the question 'what new cultural revolution will replace agriculture?', After Agri is a collaborative investigation between Michiko Nitta and Michael Burton and explores a new symbiotic relationship between humans and algae.

Questioning why we are trying to redesign food for survival when in fact we could be re designing our bodies they propose a future whereby humans will be reliant on algae which will be living inside newly evolved organs.

Drawing inspiration from scientists such as Debora MacKenzie and Michael Le Page who wrote about photosynthetic creatures, or “plantimals” in the New Scientist (2010) they visually explore a alternate future.

This vision of the future suggests a semi photosynthetic human. Absorbing future food via light similar to plants we (humans) will become symbionts - meaning an entity that relies entirely on an other for survival. This mutually beneficial relationship with algae is an entirely new vision of how important algae might become in the future.

Having recently been on show at the Food Forward exhibition in The Hague, their work comes to London during London design festival. As part of the ongoing events at the Victoria and Albert Museum an opera singer will be transformed with biotechnology to grow algae with her breath so the audience can taste her song.

Platform 16 TABLES

3rd February 2012

The RCA work in progress show this week was an engaging mix of social considerations of technology overload, over consumption.

Change was also a key theme with projects looking to how our lives will need to change over the coming years due to new urbanization constructs, food and technology evolutions (synthetic biology) and changes in our understanding of virtual, real, magic and myth. A series of thought provoking projects there were also many that were simply striking for from, function and materiality.

One of the projects that caught my eye was by Design Products Platform 16 which took an Ikea table and asked the students to make a table out of a table and in the process make a comment on the idea of a table. Some looked to the table as a place to share and meet, whilst others looked at it as a place to consider time.

Marjan Van Aubel's 1:7 table actually made 7 tables out of one table by pushing with the boundaries of materials and materiology. Planing down the wood from the original Ikea table she has created a chemical reaction with glue that makes the wood expand to twice its size. Organic in its growth the resulting table and material takes on an entirely new form and appeal.

I also was taken by Dagny Rewera's LumienBois table that explores change and weathering in outdoor objects and the idea of at what point nature takes over and creates its own secret life.

Pulping the wood from the table and introducing a bioluminescent wood fungi - the fungi becomes the craftsmen of the object and Rewera becomes the assistant in the design process.The bioluminescent mycelium only reveals its beautiful secret when it becomes dark.


I use this blog as a notebook of inspirations – I post things I see and like and thoughts of mine. I don't revolve around a singular topic and neither does this blog. Everything and anything is relevant


101.86°- color of the day

Curiosity Cloud

Flower Power

Plants out of place

Digital Nature












augmented reality


bio couture

Central St Martins

Chelsea College of Art and Design





Dutch Design Week






London Design Festival

London Design Week


Material of the Month





Philips Design

rapid prototyping

Royal College of Art



synthetic biology


Textile Futures



places I go for inspiration

Next Nature
Textile Futures Research Group
materials library
is this textiles?
Form materials
Forrest Jessee
Electric Foxy
Michael Burton
Planet Mag