We are three industrial design students from ENSCI-Les Ateliers who have integrated the Pasteur iGEM team this year (Charlène, Lisa, and Xavier). But you may ask, what is design? Why mixing design and sciences for an iGEM challenge? Following are small introductions.
Design is a discipline that leads us to rethink everyday life, as immaterial and material. It’s about the conception of objects, with their aesthetic and functional parts, and uses associated to economic and social values. It involves a wide spectrum of professions in which products, services, graphics, interiors and architecture all take part. Eco-design occupies a central place. In a current industry undergoing profound changes, the dominant technologies are not only those of wood, metal and plastics; they are those that implement new materials and new means of production: such as technologies coming from living organisms, here synthetic biology and bio-fabrication. Our training is multidisciplinary, both theoretical and practical, which leads us to think of innovation in all its forms. This discipline uses the skills and experience of the designer, which are the observation, analysis, listening and technique. You want to learn more ?
Jonathan Knowles, Senior Advisor at Autodesk, about what is design,
To introduce you to «Biodesign», you will find below an extract from William MYERS, BIO DESIGN, Thames & Hudson, 2012. « Designers’ fascination with science is today reciprocated by a generation of scientists who are eager to get their brains dirty with reality. As explored first in the 2008 exhibition ‘Design and the Elastic Mind’ at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (full disclosure: yours truly was the curator), these novel collaborations are often joyous contaminations in which scientists feel, even if just for a moment, liberated from the rigor of peer review and free to attempt intuitive leaps. Indeed, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers, chemists, and bioethicists have leaped at the opportunity, their contribution encouraged and celebrated in a few centers of ‘irradiation,’ such as London’s Royal College of Art Design Interactions program or Le Laboratoire, an idea incubator in Paris. The results (based on current research) have the lyrical and demonstrative power of art and the realistic possibilities of design. It is, however, the experiments with biologists that have garnered the strongest momentum, and a new form of organic design is rapidly evolving—the biodesign. Biodesign harnesses living materials, whether they are cultured tissues or plants, and embodies the dream of organic design: watching objects grow and, after the first impulse, letting nature, the best among all engineers and architects, run its course. It goes without saying that when the materials of design are not plastics, wood, ceramics, or glass, but rather living beings or living tissues, the implications of every project reach far beyond the form/function equation and any idea of comfort, modernity, or progress. Design transcends its traditional boundaries and aims straight at the core of the moral sphere, toying with our most deep-seated beliefs. In designers’ ability to build scenarios and prototypes of behavior lies a power that they should protect and cherish, and that will become even more important in the future. […] Biodesign goes further than other biology-inspired approaches to design and fabrication. Unlike biomimicry, cradle to cradle, and the popular but frustratingly vague ‘green design’, biodesign refers specifically to the incorporation of living organisms as essential components, enhancing the function of the finished work. It goes beyond mimicry to integration, dissolving boundaries and synthesizing new hybrid typologies. The label is also used to highlight experiments that replace industrial or mechanical systems with biological processes. […] This convergence of fields, as well as of the expert with the amateur, is ultimately necessary to support the ongoing effort to alleviate the negative impacts of the legacies of the Industrial Revolution. And it will lead to the reconception of the primary design principles of value generation, growth, and sustainability. […] »
If you want to learn more about this subject, here is a short list of book that might interest you ! - Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology's Designs on Nature, MIT Press, 2014 - Robert H. Carlson, Biology Is Technology, Harvard University Press, 2012 - Agnès Guillot, Jean-Arcady Meyer, Poulpe fiction: Quand l'animal inspire l'innovation, Dunod, 2014 - Elodie Ternaux, Industry of Nature: Another Approach to Ecology, Frame Publishers, 2012 - Marie-Ange Brayer, Frédéric Migayrou, Naturalizing Architecture, HYX, 2013
Andy Middleton, a thinker on sustainability, about Biomimicry for better design,
The unknown, inherent in the beginning of any project, is precisely what excites the brain of the designer and that makes it able to search for innovative answers. Neri Oxman, designer and architect, about design at the intersection of technology and biology,