Mycelium Textiles: Lace assembly. © Carole Collet, 2019. Using mycelium cultures to bind materials together to achieve a final ‘grow-made’ artefact.
by Carole Collet
The integration of living organisms and fermentation processes into material systems is historically and fundamentally inscribed within our food cultures. Making bread, cheese, wine and beer are ancestral techniques that all require the knowledge of crafting with microorganisms. With the integration of biological protocols into the design and material biofabrication process, this craft has now been adopted by designers, and the developmental morphogenesis of a growing material has become a site for design intervention. Scientist D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson argues (in On Growth and Form, 1917) that a form, living or not, is the result of the "diagram of forces" that have acted upon it. With bio-integrated material design, the role of the designer is to create the relevant conditions and "forces" that allow for a selected living organism to biofabricate a tuneable living material.
Carole Collet is Professor in Design for Sustainable Futures at Central Saint Martins UAL, where she is director of @maisonzero, the CSM LVMH Sustainable Innovation Programme and also director of the @designandlivingsystems Lab. She has pioneered the integration of sustainability into the curriculum at Central Saint Martins by creating new courses such as the MA in Textile Futures in 2001 (now Material Futures) and the first MA in Biodesign in 2019. Her research includes biomaterial prototyping as well as exhibition and conference curation and publication. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions, including at the V&A and the Centre Pompidou.
The Living Systems Lab Symposium by Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts London (UAL), in collaboration with maat, introduces research projects which exist at the intersection of art, design, architecture and biology by Carole Collet, Heather Barnett, Nancy Diniz, Alice Taylor and Rob Kesseler.