Alive, Provocative, Surprising: Emotional Dimensions of Bio-Synergistic Materials for Socially Meaningful Design

Main Article Content

Stefano Parisi
Shonali Shetty

Abstract




Novel materials with hybrid, dynamic, and interactive qualities are emerging due to the cross-pollination between biology and electronics. In this exploratory article, we propose an original and tentative definition and taxonomy of Bio-Synergistic materials. By analyzing the best examples within the taxonomy, we argue that they elicit emerging materials experiences related to being alive, provocative, and surprising, unfolding a unique set of emotions, feelings, and experiences for users. Such experiences promote a shift in values in society, addressing a complex system of values related to interdependence, environmental consciousness, multi-species collaborations, caring, transience, and imperfection, and re-centering design approaches from being anthropocentric to becoming more-than-human. The findings are articulated in an original framework of Bio-Synergistic materials for socially meaningful design. This preliminary investigation may be extended into a solid research theme, catalyzing positive implications for nature, technology, and society.

Article Details

How to Cite
Parisi, S., & Shetty, S. (2020). Alive, Provocative, Surprising: Emotional Dimensions of Bio-Synergistic Materials for Socially Meaningful Design. Diseña, (17), 128-159. https://doi.org/10.7764/disena.17.128-159
Section
Original articles
Author Biographies

Stefano Parisi, Politecnico di Milano, Design Department

BS in Product Design, Politecnico di Milano. MSc in Product Design for Innovation, Politecnico di Milano. PhD Candidate, Politecnico di Milano. He is a Research Fellow at the Design Department of the Politecnico di Milano and a member of the Materials Experience Lab and the DIY Materials Research Group. He works in emerging materials experience. His research is focused on innovative design, teaching, and knowledge transfer methodologies for emerging materials for design, in particular the ones having a hybrid, dynamic and interactive qualities. Some of his most recent publications are ‘The Hybrid Dimension of Material Design: Two Case Studies of a Do-it-yourself Approach for the Development of Interactive, Connected, and Smart Materials’ (with M. Holzbach and V. Rognoli; Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing 1131, Springer, 2020), ‘Design for ICS Materials: A Tentative Methodology for Interactive, Connected, and Smart Materials Applied to Yacht Design’ (with A. Bionda, A. Ratti, and V. Rognoli; Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing 903, Springer, 2020), and ‘Material Tinkering. An Inspirational Approach for Experiential Learning and Envisioning in Product Design Education’ (The Design Journal, Vol. 20, sup. 1).

Shonali Shetty, Utrecht University, Biology Department

BA in Integrated Design, Köln International School of Design. PGD, Advanced Marketing & Communication. BBM in Business Management, Bangalore University. She is a Collaborative Researcher at the University of Utrecht Department of Biology. She is also a Faculty Member at the University of Utrecht Applied Sciences, where she lectures on topics such as humanities, and human-centered and circular design. She founded the Design Studio MeshLabs, which is based in Rotterdam and focuses on driving forward transcultural and bio-inspired narratives through design. As a norm-critical designer, she is keen on bridging the gap between nature and culture, proposing alternative scenarios that take on a more-than-human approach to design. Created in collaboration with biologists, her projects ‘Man and Fungi’ (2020) and ‘Project AeR’ (2018) are examples of such integration of culture and nature.

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