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What is Bio-Design?

For those new to the subject who would like a little clarity on what this field encompasses and what role Mediamatic takes in relation to this.

  • Mycelium-based material: close-up - 

    Made from seed husks and mycelium (fungi roots). The material is similar to foam (for example, Styrofoam), but, unlike foam, it is eco-friendly and made entirely of natural materials. Fungi could arguably become the natural plastics of the future.

Bio-design

Mediamatic combines the inter-disciplinary interests of the fields of the life-sciences (science and study concerned with living organisms), for example, botany, anatomy, bio-engineering and even neuroscience, and art/design in order to explore the future of life at all levels and how we might become a more sustainable society through methods of biological crafts, better known as bio-design.

There are many different interpretations of what the notion bio-design covers. Bio-design (actual or conceptual) embodies an emerging design movement which incorporates the use of living materials, or ‘moist media,’ such as fungi, algae, yeast, bacteria, and cultured tissue.This can be as part of standard crafting methods or the more complex fields of biomimicry and synthetic biology. The idea is to create a product whose properties are enhanced as a result of the use of these living materials.

Veiled Lady: Mycelium Project 2.0

Veiled Lady: Mycelium Project 2.0

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3d printed stool construction strengthened with mushroom mycelium by Eric Klarenbeek

A New System

One aim for bio-design is to use natural resources in a way that means more is not taken than can be given back. This means the creation of a closed-loop system with a zero-waste policy, as is the case with our Aquaponics system, for example. In the Mediamatic Aquaponics system, water is pumped in a loop from the fish tanks, housing African catfish, to the planter beds containing fruit and vegetable plants, and back again, carrying a vital flow of nutrients that feeds both the plants and the fish. In this system, there is no waste as the fish excrement feeds the plants and the water houses the fish and feeds the plants, while the water returning to the fish from the plants contains vital nutrients for the fish to survive. These are natural processes that are being allowed to flourish within a critical design system in order to create a more sustainable method of cultivating fruit and vegetables.

Bio-design essentially crosses traditional art-design-science boundaries in order to change accepted values of life at all levels in order to create new design solutions and technologies.

Aquaponics Plants

Aquaponics Plants

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The towers of plants at the Mediamatic Biotoop Aquaponics Greenhouse

Mediamatic and Bio-design

Here at Mediamatic, we consider ourselves proponents of the definition of bio-design that covers the idea of working with living materials in order to enhance sustainable activities and encourage the potential usage of such designs in the real world. Our stated aim is to delve into new technologies and cultural developments, and so the exploration of bio-design in this context offers a great deal of opportunity. Check out our current projects!

A NIMBY toilet for a flourishing garden

A NIMBY toilet for a flourishing garden

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An illustration to show the principle behind the NIMBY toilet and the recycling of urine for watering plants. The Not In My Backyard Toilet is a project by Henriette Waal and was developed as a part of BIO50 in Ljubljana, 2014. The urine is collected underneath and allowed to ferment in order to create a solution that will provide nutrition for the plants. The project is currently being installed in Dijkspark and will open soon.

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