Functional Material Architectures "Interactive living materials at the intersection of design, technology and life sciences," developed by Architect Laia Mogas and Engineer Giusy Matzeu at the Tufts BME Silklab. Core77 1 of 56
Functional Material Architectures These macro-lattice prototypes are based on geometric basketry patterns. To create the delicate shapes, silk-based biomaterial inks were extruded through a computer-controlled extrusion system. Presented as an alternative to fuel-based plastics, this material is biodegradable and its resulting forms are tough, eleasic and even edible. Core77 2 of 56
Fungal Curiosities—Understanding Mycelium Based Composites This materials exploration by Officina Corpuscoli / Maurizio Montalti addresses the complicated process of standardizing technical and experimental qualities of naturally growing materials, specifically mycelium-based composite. Is this process even fully possible? Core77 3 of 56
Fungal Curiosities—Understanding Mycelium Based Composites A closer look at a few different varieties of mycelium-based composites Montalti and his team worked with. Core77 4 of 56
Fungal Curiosities—Understanding Mycelium Based Composites Core77 5 of 56
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Fungal Curiosities—Understanding Mycelium Based Composites This diagram examines the properties of four mycelium-based composites (A2, A3, B7 and B8). Core77 8 of 56
Fungal Curiosities—Understanding Mycelium Based Composites Different varieties of mycelium-based materials can be created by varying the substrates the fungal filaments are cultivated on. For example, if fungal filaments are cultivated on wood and heat compressed, the result will have very different properties than fungal filaments cultivated on straw without heat compression. Core77 9 of 56
Fungal Curiosities—Understanding Mycelium Based Composites Core77 10 of 56
Fungal Curiosities—Understanding Mycelium Based Composites Through this collaboration between scientists and designers, we are better able to understand the properties of these varying results and how they could be applied in everyday life. Core77 11 of 56
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Caskia / Growing a Marsboot Commissioned by MoMA for the Paola Antonelli-curated "Is Fashion Modern?" exhibition, Liz Ciokajlo of OurOwnsKIN and Maurizio Montalti of Officina Corpuscoli co-created Caskia, a mycelium-based Marsboot inspired by the popular Moon Boots of the 1970s. Core77 15 of 56
Caskia / Growing a Marsboot When creating Caskia, the design duo imagined a scenario in which the astronaut's sweat is "filtered and combined with fungal mycelium, partly feeding the fungal culture for the generation of grown materials." Core77 16 of 56
Caskia / Growing a Marsboot This work puts into the question the idea of using our bodies as materials or even to work in conjunction with materials. Core77 17 of 56
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Caskia / Growing a Marsboot The boot also includes 3D printed components reminiscent of Ciokajlo's previous works for OurOwnsKIN. Core77 20 of 56
Bioreceptive Acoustic Poche Architecture also received the bio-treatment—shown here is a project by BiotA Lab that explores the idea of encouraging plant growth, specifically algae and moss, in architectural structures. Core77 21 of 56
Bioreceptive Acoustic Poche This structure is a self-sustaining green wall that works as a noise dampener in loud areas. Core77 22 of 56
Bioreceptive Acoustic Poche It's made from concrete, clay and concrete + clay blends. Core77 23 of 56
Bioreceptive Acoustic Poche Core77 24 of 56
Viscous Biomaterials for Application in Architecture This is what an algae panel looks like! Core77 25 of 56
Viscous Biomaterials for Application in Architecture These panels are extruded by robots, which is an example of how bio materials could be fabricated at a larger scale to fit the needs of architecture. Core77 26 of 56
Footprintless Sneakers I was very excited to see 10xBeta's Footprintless sneakers on display at Biofabricate this year. These guys are made with recycled CO2 in collaboration with CO2 recycling company, Novomer. Core77 27 of 56
Footprintless Sneakers The catalyst the companies created reacts with CO2 to create polyurethane, the end material used to create the shoe. This sneaker is one of the first applications of captured CO2 in consumer goods, and it has an extremely low carbon footprint. Core77 28 of 56
Footprintless Sneakers Core77 29 of 56
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Coralise Designer Jessica Gregory created these substrates with a new material derived from coral. Core77 31 of 56
Coralise Yes, coral. Core77 32 of 56
Coralise Baby coral die at an alarmingly high rate. This project aims to reverse that while also encouraging a new coral population to settle and grow. Core77 33 of 56
Coralise How it works: The new material Gregory created + 3D printed forms she designed attract the coral larvae to settle. The carefully designed forms protect the larvae but are familiar enough shapes to make them feel comfortable. Core77 34 of 56
Mango Materials Mango Materials produces biopolymers from methane! Core77 35 of 56
Mango Materials Basically, Mango Materials' biopolymer can serve as a feasible alternative to oil-based materials, including petroleum-based polyesters commonly used in the fashion industry. Core77 36 of 56
Mango Materials It can even be used to produce fully biodegradable caps as an alternative to plastic caps. Core77 37 of 56
Mango Materials Here's what it looks like as a knit. Core77 38 of 56
Parley x adidas Parley had their original adidas collaboration shoe on display with material swatches and samples, as well as a few later versions of the exciting ongoing collaboration. Core77 39 of 56
Parley x adidas Apparently Parley has gotten adidas to pledge to stop using new virgin plastic entirely within the near future—that's a big deal, considering the footwear industry's current reliance on plastics in manufacturing. Core77 40 of 56
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Parley x adidas A before and after look at marine debris vs the pellets parley and adidas turned the material into. Core77 42 of 56
Parley x adidas A closer look at Parley's ocean plastic fiber. Core77 43 of 56
Parley x adidas Parley x adidas UltraBOOST Uncaged. Core77 44 of 56
Parley x adidas It was as if footwear inspiration was flying at you from all directions... Core77 45 of 56
Gingko Bioworks x Faber Futures "If bacteria produces a pigment, how do we work with it to dye textiles?" Core77 46 of 56
Gingko Bioworks x Faber Futures Designer Natsai Chieza worked as the first designer in residence at Boston-based Gingko Bioworks to develop a new bacteria that produces a higher level of pigment key to her process of dyeing with bacterial pigments. Core77 47 of 56
Gingko Bioworks x Faber Futures During her time at Gingko Bioworks, Chieza printed a whole garment using her process—the first of its kind! Core77 48 of 56
Gingko Bioworks x Faber Futures According to Chieza, the bacteria she developed is able to bond directly to materials like silk, requiring no other bonding agents in the process. Core77 49 of 56
Gingko Bioworks x Faber Futures You'd never guess this garment was dyed using bacterial pigments..... Core77 50 of 56
Bolt Threads Microsilk Core77 51 of 56
Bolt Threads Microsilk ...a beanie made with Bolt Threads' bioengineered spider silk, Microsilk. The hat sold out almost instantly. Core77 52 of 56
Bolt Threads Microsilk Microsilk up close! Core77 53 of 56
Ecovative Ecovative encouraged attendees to touch their mycelium-based materials—something I'd never think of saying no to. Core77 54 of 56
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Ecovative Ecovative has developed a mycelium-based material similar to leather, which they encouraged us to try to rip apart with our hands. We were all unsuccessful. Core77 56 of 56
At this point, it's no secret we're killing our planet at a frighteningly rapid pace. With plastic and other toxic materials polluting our oceans and infiltrating our air supply, it's more important now than ever for designers and scientists to develop scalable solutions to help reverse the bad habits we've created on both the producer and consumer levels.
To that note, tucked away in Brooklyn's New Lab was last week's Biofabricate conference. Bringing together the best in bio materials innovation, the fourth-annual Biofabricate focused on starting and continuing a dialogue between scientists, academics and designers and reinforcing the importance of collaboration within the biofabrication realm.
Key highlights of the 1-day conference included the presentations, of course, but also included the announcement of a new partnership between Biofabricate and Parley for the Oceans (who you may remember from their collaboration with adidas) and Biofabricate's exhibition space, which featured material works from exciting projects around the world.
The conference itself was divided into five sessions. The first of the five was "Designing for Health" where Richard Beckett of Arch-T and SynDeBio gave a fascinating talk on designing architectural structures that encourage plant growth instead of avoiding it as most buildings do. This particular session and its speakers focused on community and living spaces, which you don't typically come to mind when you think of biofabrication—it's generally thought of on a smaller-scale.
The following session was all about "Turning Problems Into Solutions," and the main problem addressed by speakers Cyrill Gutsch of Parley for the Oceans and Molly Morse of Mango Materials was plastic. From Gutsch's perspective, we need to focus less on recycling plastic and focus more on ending its use entirely. "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" is an outdated model that Gutsch has replaced with "AIR," which stands for "Avoid, Intercept, Redesign." So, instead of repurposing plastics, we need to be completely redesigning them from the start.
Session three, titled "Collaboration Driving Innovation," focused on designers and scientists joining forces to address environmental problems. Liz Ciokajlo of OurOwnsKIN and Maurizio Montalti of Officina Corpuscoli and MOGU explained in detail the MarsBoot they created for MoMA's Is Fashion Modern? exhibition and how their collaboration with each other and outside scientists was an integral part of bringing their project to life. Natsai Chieza of Faber Futures then gave a presentation about her residency at Boston's Ginkgo Bioworks, where she worked with Ginkgo's team of scientists to develop a new strain of bacteria that produces the pigments she uses in her bacterial fabric dyeing process.
The fourth session entitled "Evolving Materials" covered everything from Modern Meadow's liquid leather ZOA to apples designed to remain fresh and never brown. Ecovative's Eben Bayer also came to the stage to discuss his mycelium materials and kits—as one of the longest standing companies within that realm, it was especially fascinating to hear about how Bayer kept Ecovative going strong through tough economic times.
The conference appropriately concluded with a session on "Growing the Future," where speakers focused on the biofabrication business from two angles—how to successfully grow a biofabrication company and key companies currently supporting biofabrication, such as Miroslava Duma's Fashion Tech Lab. This last session left things on a positive note and encouraged attendees to reach outside of their realm to work with unexpected partners.
Sadly, we missed out on the cricket-themed workshop, but maybe next year.
Emily is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese. Before going freelance, Emily was an Editor at Core77.