Carbonarium

Seeks to inspire and equip designers, makers, and fabricators with the novel tools

Seeks to inspire and equip designers, makers, and fabricators with the novel tools

Seeks to inspire and equip designers, makers, and fabricators with the novel tools

Carbonarium is a design research initiative aimed at uncovering sustainable material innovations with the potential to redefine traditional construction and manufacturing processes.It seeks to inspire and equip designers, makers, and fabricators with the novel tools to create sustainable material innovations in collaboration with bacteria.It also serves as a platform for thought, encouraging professionals in the field to think differently about how we design, create, and consume in a world increasingly mindful of its environmental impact.

Carbonarium is a design research initiative aimed at uncovering sustainable material innovations with the potential to redefine traditional construction and manufacturing processes.It seeks to inspire and equip designers, makers, and fabricators with the novel tools to create sustainable material innovations in collaboration with bacteria.It also serves as a platform for thought, encouraging professionals in the field to think differently about how we design, create, and consume in a world increasingly mindful of its environmental impact.

Carbonarium is a design research initiative aimed at uncovering sustainable material innovations with the potential to redefine traditional construction and manufacturing processes.It seeks to inspire and equip designers, makers, and fabricators with the novel tools to create sustainable material innovations in collaboration with bacteria.It also serves as a platform for thought, encouraging professionals in the field to think differently about how we design, create, and consume in a world increasingly mindful of its environmental impact.

Client

NYU ITP Thesis (Special Thanks to Genspace Scientist Members)

Role

Interdisciplinary Researcher Speculative / Digital Designer

Industries

Biodesign & Material Research

Timeline

Feb - May 2023

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Define "Designer" Tool

Define "Designer" Tool

Define "Designer" Tool

Design tools, traditionally shaped by historical experiences, user habits, and the pursuit of efficiency, have largely remained unchanged for years. This constancy begs the question: have creative individuals considered the creation of novel design tools or the possibility of collaborating with non-human partners to unveil unforeseen innovations?

Design tools, traditionally shaped by historical experiences, user habits, and the pursuit of efficiency, have largely remained unchanged for years. This constancy begs the question: have creative individuals considered the creation of novel design tools or the possibility of collaborating with non-human partners to unveil unforeseen innovations?

Design tools, traditionally shaped by historical experiences, user habits, and the pursuit of efficiency, have largely remained unchanged for years. This constancy begs the question: have creative individuals considered the creation of novel design tools or the possibility of collaborating with non-human partners to unveil unforeseen innovations?

Material Exploration

Material Exploration

Can we start this exploration with material development?

Can we start this exploration with material development?

Design Concept

At the core of this project is the exploration of a unique material creation process involving sporosarcina pasteurii bacterium. This process binds substrate particles together to create a binded material. Through biomineralization, these microorganisms utilize potential kitchen waste, such as eggshells, and natural materials like sand, to precipitate calcium carbonate.  As a designer and researcher, I've collaborated with fellow scientists at Genspace to conduct experiments and develop this material. Our approach involves supplying the bacteria with nutrients and potential waste materials, while carefully maintaining the incubation system to facilitate the cultivation of this unique material.

At the core of this project is the exploration of a unique material creation process involving sporosarcina pasteurii bacterium. This process binds substrate particles together to create a binded material. Through biomineralization, these microorganisms utilize potential kitchen waste, such as eggshells, and natural materials like sand, to precipitate calcium carbonate.  As a designer and researcher, I've collaborated with fellow scientists at Genspace to conduct experiments and develop this material. Our approach involves supplying the bacteria with nutrients and potential waste materials, while carefully maintaining the incubation system to facilitate the cultivation of this unique material.

At the core of this project is the exploration of a unique material creation process involving sporosarcina pasteurii bacterium. This process binds substrate particles together to create a binded material. Through biomineralization, these microorganisms utilize potential kitchen waste, such as eggshells, and natural materials like sand, to precipitate calcium carbonate.  As a designer and researcher, I've collaborated with fellow scientists at Genspace to conduct experiments and develop this material. Our approach involves supplying the bacteria with nutrients and potential waste materials, while carefully maintaining the incubation system to facilitate the cultivation of this unique material.

Intended System Design

Can we harness this partnership to construct something meaningful? Can we provide enough resource for the bacteria to bind up materials that are being wasted in our life?


I then envisioned a system that encourages collaboration between us and the bacteria. Can we harness this partnership to construct something meaningful? By supplying bacteria with potential waste materials and nutrients within a carefully maintained incubation system, might we cultivate a unique structure together created by humans and bacteria?

Device Demo

Emphasizing cyclical connections, the project progresses from materials explorations to speculating on an interactive cultivation system, and even to future living space envisioned and potentially built upon this collaboration, I wish to convey a sense of reciprocity between humans and bacteria.

Challenge

My research is centered around the convergence of materials, biology, and human behaviors, specifically exploring the potential of bacterial growth for mutual benefits across different species. The main challenges in this project lies in creating a conducive environment for experimentation and enhancing the accessibility of the incubation device. A typical environment might not effectively isolate the bacterium from other organisms. Furthermore, the nutrient requirements for this collaboration are mostly lab-grade and therefore can not be easily accessible to creative individuals. Also, there are uncertainties tied to the outcomes of the biomineralization process. To address these issues, I've engaged in extensive exploration of more accessible materials and nutrients. Experiments have included the use of common household waste, such as crushed eggshells, as a platform for bacterial colony formation. I've also been investigating potential nutrient alternatives like agar, glucose, mineral salts, and other compositions, aiming to create an accessible nutrient mix that can stimulate bacterial growth.

Intended System Design

My research is centered around the convergence of materials, biology, and human behaviors, specifically exploring the potential of bacterial growth for mutual benefits across different species. The main challenges in this project lies in creating a conducive environment for experimentation and enhancing the accessibility of the incubation device. A typical environment might not effectively isolate the bacterium from other organisms. Furthermore, the nutrient requirements for this collaboration are mostly lab-grade and therefore can not be easily accessible to creative individuals. Also, there are uncertainties tied to the outcomes of the biomineralization process. To address these issues, I've engaged in extensive exploration of more accessible materials and nutrients. Experiments have included the use of common household waste, such as crushed eggshells, as a platform for bacterial colony formation. I've also been investigating potential nutrient alternatives like agar, glucose, mineral salts, and other compositions, aiming to create an accessible nutrient mix that can stimulate bacterial growth.

Future Envision

Future Envision

Lastly, drawing inspiration from complex coral ecosystems, I envision a future where this structure in larger scale, and it is built and maintained by bacteria and human, and this structure are also supported by human-provided materials. This harmonious environment intertwines human behaviors, bacterial growth, and interspecies interaction in a dynamic cycle. Humans contribute to the biocementation process, nurture the bacteria, and maintain the infrastructure, fostering a sustainable future built on symbiosis.

For next steps, I still want to evaluate more potential waste materials, and optimize the bacteria nutrient feedback, and refining the cultivation system even more.

To me, this project is about encouraging people to notice the micro-changes in their surroundings, much like acknowledging the presence of a single rock. A rock doesn't merely exist to form part of the landscape; it's a node in the complex network of nature, offering potential opportunities across various states.

Lastly, drawing inspiration from complex coral ecosystems, I envision a future where this structure in larger scale, and it is built and maintained by bacteria and human, and this structure are also supported by human-provided materials. This harmonious environment intertwines human behaviors, bacterial growth, and interspecies interaction in a dynamic cycle. Humans contribute to the biocementation process, nurture the bacteria, and maintain the infrastructure, fostering a sustainable future built on symbiosis.

For next steps, I still want to evaluate more potential waste materials, and optimize the bacteria nutrient feedback, and refining the cultivation system even more.

To me, this project is about encouraging people to notice the micro-changes in their surroundings, much like acknowledging the presence of a single rock. A rock doesn't merely exist to form part of the landscape; it's a node in the complex network of nature, offering potential opportunities across various states.