Life-enabling materials

Barbara Pollini

PhD student in Design, Design Department,

School of Design - Polytechnic University of Milan

Bioreceptive tile fabrication
Bioreceptive tile fabrication

Healing-Materialities_research-approach.
Healing-Materialities_research-approach.

ABC_Manifesto-on grey
ABC_Manifesto-on grey

Bioreceptive tile fabrication
Bioreceptive tile fabrication

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ABSTRACT

If in the current economic model and design practice form precedes materialization, in Biodesign materials gain a predominant role. Living materials, made of self-replicating organisms, play a role of morphogenesis: from the simple act of growing in a given shape, to a more active function, when allowed, designing the final object. 

Looking at both living and non-living materials from the perspective of their relationship, even inert materials, although less discussed in Biodesign, play an active role in this practice, becoming “life enablers”, thanks to some specific features that can be described under the definition of bioreceptivity.

Bioreceptive materials show potential in ecosystems restorations thanks to a more-than-human design approach. Inert materials can be designed in their chemical composition and physical properties, in response to host needs and environmental parameters; such design can enhance the colonization of the material, affecting ecosystems biodiversity and helping in bioremediation of polluted environments. 

This practice-based research focuses on those materials’ features which can be designed to enable life, especially focusing on their impact for (i) sustainable human productions, (ii) more-than-human design, (iii) social awareness and behavioural change.

wHO AM I?

Barbara Pollini is a PhD candidate in design at the Polytechnic University of Milan. 

With a master in Ecodesign and Eco-innovation and a MA in Computational Design, since 2010, she's dealing with sustainable design and materials as a designer, educator and researcher. Since 2014 she has been investigating sustainable materials, focusing on the relationship between materials and design for sustainability from different perspectives (circular materials, biomaterials, made in waste materials and growing materials). 

For her doctoral research, she is dealing with biodesign, an approach arising from the intersection between design, biology and technology, focusing on how living matters can redefine key sustainable aspects for future productions

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