BIODESIGN is a project co-funded by the Portuguese General Arts Directorate from the Ministry of Culture, which aims to explore and experiment with renewable biological materials and technologies in product design towards a circular bio economy. The resulting product prototypes will be displayed in a touring exhibition in Lisbon, Aveiro and London.

The intrinsic theme BIODESIGN is the world of biological materials and the state-of-the-art of innovation in this field, which utilize materials and ingredients of plant or animal origin as basis for the development of renewable and sustainable composites with reduced environmental impact. The project considers geographical ecosystems from which materials are derived as a conceptual metaphor and reflection of design’s role in the global challenge to minimize climate change: calcium carbonate seashells and jellyfish leather from the oceans; cork from the Mediterranean forests; wine leather from valleys, and rubber from tropical rain forest, are some examples.

The aforementioned examples bear excellent physical and environmental characteristics, traditionally maintain important socio-economic contexts, and have high potential for technological innovation within the context of the circular bio economy, safely returning to the biosphere.

BIODESIGN is being conducted within the context and scope of design experimentation, and aims to portray the role of natural materials in product design from several points of view:

  1. The environmental impacts, based on the problems of the dominant consumer society, its impacts on the ecological balance and quality of life on Earth, and in particular, climate change;
  2. The social, artistic, and cultural identity aspects, and their intangible presence in human design;
  3. The economic aspect, and its importance in the management of wealth and resources, from the extraction of the resources (local) to their consumption (global).
  4. The scientific aspect of the subject, within the context of a constantly changing society and technological paradigm; and,
  5. The creativity aspect, embodied in the product prototypes, and the ways in which it relates to the practice of design.