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LIVING ARTEFACTS – Jiwei Zhou, Designing with Plant Roots

For thousands of years, plants have been cultivated and used as material resources by humans. This history has resulted in a well-established repertoire of techniques and tools. Nevertheless, despite human familiarity with these organisms, plants and plant parts have been little explored in bio-design, when compared to other organisms. Roots do not grow passively – they move and observe. They adapt intelligently, navigating their environment in ways that optimize the search for food and habitable space. This presentation dives into the qualities and potentials of plant roots for product design.

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‘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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