Designing Everyday Products With Living Materials

Technological and economic opportunities, alongside its ecological benefits, suggest “Biodesign” as a new industrial paradigm for the production of material artefacts in the 21st century. This emerging design practice suggests the integration of living organisms, such as bacteria, (micro)algae, fungi, and plants, into design, as material sources (e.g., animal-free leather and fur-like materials; oil-free plastics and foam alternatives), energy and food generators, light sources, water and air purifiers, heat regulators, etc. However, despite the optimism and determination shared by designers, scientists and industries, thus far, the incorporation of biology in product design remains in the realm of the speculative or produce one-of-a-kind examples. The design potentials of living organisms for novice biodesigners are often challenging to unveil as this requires understanding the fundamentals of living biological systems and bioprocesses.

Biodesign Masterclass offers a two-day program to delve into the fascinating world of living organisms and get acquainted with the fundamental biodesign theories, tools, and methods to understand and design with living organisms for cleaner production and unique experiences in everyday products.


Learning Objectives

During this masterclass, you will:

  • learn the main theory and principles of biodesign;
  • get a feeling for biolab tools and machines, basic biolab technical and research skills to grow, maintain, and observe living organisms;
  • gain hands-on experiences in designing with a living organism (e.g., fungi, bacteria, algae);
  • gain competence in envisioning future applications for living materials.


  • Biodesign theory and principles;
  • Basic biolab training for safety, tools, and equipment;
  • Hands-on sessions with living organisms.


Elvin Karana is Professor of Materials Innovation and Design at Delft University of Technology, where she founded and codirects the Materials Experience Lab. Elvin explores and navigates the productive shifts between materials science and design for materials and product development. In 2022, she founded the Biodesign Lab at the faculty of IDE (TU Delft), that aims at designing materials that incorporate living microorganisms.

Dr. Joanna Martins is a Microbiologist specialized in a particular group of micororganisms - the cyanobacteria. Her work has been developend in the marine biotechnology field, namely in the study and valorazation of bioactive natural compounds. Since January 2022, she is an Assistant Professor at IDE TU Delft in Biodesign, where she has been dedicating her research to the 'living-materials' for everyday products.