Designing with Biology

An intro to design with living matter and the life sciences’ role in design.

Workshop Dates: July 10 – 14, 2017

BioDesign, Bio-Economy, Growing Materials, DNA, Biotech, Ecology, Micro-organisms, Genetics, Fermentation, Grown Materials, DNA, Biotechnology, Ecology, Micro-organisms, Biomedia Art, Living design

The workshop will be an intro to designing and thinking with living matter. The participants will review capabilities of biology and biological technologies advancing ever so rapidly and being used in the industry, and explore frameworks for exploring this new domain, its implications, opportunities in design. Participants will have the chance to learn about systems and biological processes, and work with grown material.

We are surrounded inside and out by bacteria. Inside our bellies and on our skin, in our rivers and on our streets, communities of microbes have cultivated rich biome. Our tools for discovery and manipulation of genetics, living matter and ecology are advancing and design plays a big role in defining and making new products, services and paradigms of interaction with the living world. As technologies in biology advance, we not only encourage but find it crucial for different disciplines to come together to shape the way evolve our biosphere.

Get a hands-on introduction to growing and working with many different organisms, yeast, fungi, bacteria, algae and other living things, learn about standard methodologies to genetic analysis and deep dive into observation of cells and microbes. Finally, leverage the design process and prototyping methodologies to evolve, rethink and imagine biological experiences today and in the future.

General course objectives
Introduction to biological design principles through examples in biodesign, biotechnology, architecture and bio media. With the presented principles and hands on experiences the participants can understand the functional differences of biological techniques and learn about the challenges of designing with living matter, and finally move from designing with “dead matter” to designing with a more human centered approach for ecosystems with diversity in mind.

Participants will also have the chance to visit and collaborate with local research labs, experts and biohacker spaces.

The course will be divided into 3 sections, with guest speaker for each section:

Grow: Hands on cultivation of classical form of engagement with living organisms from fungi to algae to yeast fermentation.

Analyse: Deep dive into the observation of cells and genes. Looking into and working with the scientific method and knowledge of biotechnology from past to present.

Evolve: Developing biological frameworks, evolving design scenarios, prototyping and reflecting on the future of biology.

Learning expectations:
Participants will learn about existing and emerging technologies in Life Sciences and have the chance to explore this new medium, imagine and frame new questions and futures with designers and experts in the field.

Interested in Design, Science and everything in between. No specific skills required. Whether you have previous knowledge or experience with biology or not, we encourage you to participate. You may familiarize yourself with the standard curriculum of a college level introduction to cell and microbiology, but this is not a requirement.

Yasaman Sheri
Malthe Borch