Biodesign Challenge’s New Book Highlights The Role Of Biotech In Sustainability

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Biodesign Challenge announced the launch of its forthcoming book—Biodesign Challenge: A Retrospective, a 236-page collection spanning over five years and through artists, designers, scientists, and BDC alumni, it brings together 28 projects and 11 essays that draw attention to the various spectrums in the emerging field of biodesign and its link with sustainability.

Started in 2015, Biodesign Challenge is an educational program and competition focussing on biodesign. Now, it’s unveiled a new full-colour book which it calls a “celebration of the first five years of the Challenge.”

The book is a catalog for the upcoming Retrospective exhibition at Philadelphia’s University City Science Center and offers in-depth insights into the people responsible for shaping the field of biodesign.

A Sustainable Future

Projects showcased in the book have been selected from hundreds of artworks and designs. Essays featured are from art, design, and biology pioneers from practitioners to students, that share where and how this field fits in, not just with identities and cultures, but also with the living environment and how it can be reinvented to make sectors like architecture, medicine, food, products, and fashion more sustainable and equitable for the world. 

Tômtex’s 100% biobased material developed from seashell waste or mushroom. Source: Biodesign Challenge

Essayists include experts like curator William Myers, artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, designer Pia Interlandi, architectural historian Christina Cogdell. Senior curator of architecture and design and director of R&D at the Museum of Modern Art, Paola Antonelli provided the foreword to the book.

“The book is the expression of hundreds of creators’ hopes, predictions, and warnings about biotechnology’s role in shaping society,” editor and executive director of Biodesign Challenge, Daniel Grushkin said in a statement shared with Green Queen. “The ideas offer an intimate glimpse of our immediate future—as biotech becomes the next design medium.”

Glass created by using zebra mussels as a source of calcium carbonate. Source: Biodesign Challenge

The book is the expression of hundreds of creators’ hopes, predictions, and warnings about biotechnology’s role in shaping society. The ideas offer an intimate glimpse of our immediate future—as biotech becomes the next design medium

-Daniel Grushkin, editor and executive director of Biodesign Challenge

‘Critical Dialogue’

The alumni of BDC have showcased their ideas at museums and festivals like the V&A, London Design Biennale, World Economic Forum, Dutch Design Week and the United Nations. The book aims to continue to spark and invite critical dialogue around new technologies and the impact they can have on humanity.

From June 21, a Kickstarter campaign for the book will launch—the same day the annual Biodesign Summit is scheduled to start. That event will see students presenting their biotech projects, which include teams from Donghua University, Keio University, LASALLE College of the Arts, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Seoul National University, and The Design Village.

The book is available for pre-purchase exclusively through Kickstarter from June 21 – July 20.


Lead image courtesy of Biodesign Challenge.

biodesignbook