The emergence of biodesign brings many innovative materials into different areas of conscious design. Perhaps the most interesting of these are the plant-based, cultivable ones. Here are some creations that combine science and design in unique ways.
Sabrina Komár | Hungary
The artist wanted to express and process her own psychological problems through art. For her thesis project, she created a mask of living materials, which she wanted to use to make tangible the psychological anxieties and mental illnesses that she saw on her own face. The mask is made from kombucha leather, a living cellulose made up of a group of bacteria and yeast. The substance can create a skin-like and translucent flat surface that can sometimes dry out completely and become deformed. However, the presence of living materials also allows for continuous regeneration, so that neither condition lasts forever, but keeps the structure in a state of circulation. This duality of rebirth and destruction also symbolizes the various stages of mental illness.
Roza Janusz | Poland
The young Polish designer has designed ‘living packaging’ made from organic materials that can be consumed or composted after use. The packaging is made up of living bacteria and yeast, which is produced by fermentation, called SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). Once it is solid, the bacteria form a thin film-like substance on the food to prolong its durability. When cooked, the material can absorb the flavor of the food, making it edible.
Viktória Harányi | Hungary
The series is inspired by nature, and in particular by the diversity of forest vegetation and soil. The artist created a softer and rougher surface, thematizing the varied textures found in forests. The base layers are covered with moss to create an irregular and natural look. Thus, she tried to reproduce and visualize the proliferation of vegetation in a realistic way.
Bio Co-Culture | Serbia
The project is a collaboration between biodesigner Maja Halilović and visual artist Adrienn Újházi, and aims to present and creatively apply SCOBY. Alongside research and educational workshops, they create lasting works of design and visual art, both individually and together, to expand the possibilities for future use of bio-materials.
Szimbio Lab | Hungary
The Szimbio Lab is an education and research platform showcasing biodesign, sustainable textile design, and digital manufacturing technologies. The founders—Alexandra Kis-Baraksó, Dóra Márföldi, and Fanni Huszár—are themselves exploring sustainable and innovative possibilities. Their work uses materials such as the living tissue of the fungal mycelium, an untapped area of biodesign. The designs of the Szimbio Lab are both material research and innovative design.
One of the aims of biodesign is to use natural resources without using up more than can be returned to the environment. This means creating a circular system that serves the interests of both people and nature.