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Elvin Karana is the new professor Biobased Art and Design

Elvin Karana is the new professor of the research group Biobased Art and Design of Caradt.

With the start of Elvin as professor, also the new research group Biobased Art and Design starts. The research group will be a platform for practice-oriented art and design research into the understanding and development of biobased raw materials and processes.

Through this professorship, Elvin wants to lay the foundation of a new research group that will push the boundaries of traditional materials development by capitalizing on the compounded role of art, design, science and engineering for understanding materials and their transition into meaningful artifacts. Elvin: “My aim is to institutionalize this approach for the design of next generation of bio-based materials, their widespread understanding and use in society.”

Elvin Karana has been investigating the complex nature of our experiences with materials in artefacts for over fifteen years. She developed theories, tools and a method to make the notion of ‘materials experience’ actionable in design practice. Her method and tools are applied in design courses in major European universities, including Delft University of Technology, Politecnico di Milano (IT), Imperial College London (UK), Malmö University (SE) and University of Gävle (SE).

Elvin received her PhD in Industrial Design Engineering from the Delft University of Technology in 2009. In 2011, she co-founded the Natural Fibre Composites Design Platform to bring together material industries and designers to enhance the use of natural fibre composites in product design. She developed and coordinated the Materials Library: Made Of.. at TU Delft, between 2011-2015. She has organized above 20 public material design exhibitions at TU Delft and exhibited her work at the Dutch Design Week since 2013. In 2015, Elvin founded the cross-country research group, Materials Experience Lab (, which she leads jointly with Valentina Rognoli (Poliecnico di Milano). The Lab was featured by Materials Today as “one of the leading labs helping shape the future of materials development”. She is the main editor of ‘Materials Experience: Fundamentals of Materials and Design’ (2014, Elsevier).

Next to her new role at Caradt, Elvin Karana will maintain her current position as Associate Professor in the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, where she leads the Materials and Manufacturing Section.

The research group Biobased Art and Design is a collaboration of Avans University of Applied Sciences and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

‘The dynamic relationship between humans and living artefacts will continue to evolve reciprocally with mutual care.’

Elvin Karana is Research Professor of Biobased Art and Design at the Avans and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, leading the research group Materializing Futures at TU/Delft. 

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Research Group: Biobased Art and Design

The research group Biobased Art and Design capitalises on the role of artistic practice in unlocking the unique potentials of living organisms for everyday materials and communicating these to a broader public. In doing so, the group aims to instigate and accelerate our widespread understanding, further development and usage of such materials. The group’s research approach encourages tangible interactions with the living organisms, such as algae, fungi, plants and bacteria, to explore and understand their unique qualities and constraints through diverse technical and creative methods taking artists, designers and scientists as equal and active partners in the material creation.

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