Material Speculations

Future scenarios from a material point of view.

Responsible Research x Plastic Waste

What happens when a designer leaves his usual working environment and sets up his desk in a bio-lab to develop solutions?

As part of my master’s thesis „Design in the anthropocene“, I focused on the problem of plastic waste. After six months of intensive research into the causes of the problem, how to combat it and alternatives, it became clear that the problem could not be solved solely by switching to supposedly more sustainable materials such as cardboard, recycling systems or beach cleanups. In view of the technical progress that we owe to this material since the 1950s and the omnipresence of plastic in our digitalised everyday life, the complete renunciation of plastic is not a long-term solution.

In the search for novel material solutions that are realistic and feasible in the medium term, the designer is forced to go beyond the usual discipline of product and packaging design and to continue researching on an interdisciplinary level. An exciting approach here is offered by a sub-area of biodesign and materials research. From the alternative use of resources, the use of waste products or even the use of living organisms as material producers, there are very different exciting approaches to solutions.

These approaches form the starting point of this experimental research work. In a phenomenological approach, the boundaries of materials research, biology and design merge in this project. The aim is not only to further develop alternative materials, but also to explore new applications in the field of product design within the processual development → The Revolution of things.

The Laboratory