Bio Design application for product designers

Supervisor: Rina Bernabei

Product designers are engaging with new making opportunities that depart from traditional mass-production processes and are forming new collaborations shifting practice and material opportunities. Pioneers in the field, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr have said “Life is increasingly seen as the new frontier for exploitation; from industrial farming through in-vitro meat and bio-prospecting to synthetic biology, life is extracted from its natural context into the realm of the manufactured.” [Catts and Zurr, 2013]. The concept of growing products is an enticing one for both designers and users, with positive impacts on a number of scales including ecosystem impacts.

Bio-design is enticing to designers in many ways, in addition to the new materials and ways of making that are being opened up to designers, impacts for environment, sustainability and emotional attachment are all also redefined through the bio lens. It has been suggested by William Myers that “The spread of biodesign promises to be much like mechanization in the 20th century, as described by historians such as Sigfried Giedion… upending accepted practices, extinguishing traditions, attenuating natural beauties, and shaping an alien way of life.” [Myers, 2012].

Industrial design students are to explore bio design through a product design lens, in relation to existing practices and methodologies. Examples of research areas , students could investigate is the application and use of bio materials such as mycellium, algae, scobi etc. Investigations could also be approached through the use of “growing processes”, such as digital printing with organic material (embedded with living organisims), or growing actual products…

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