IDE Design Master Class for Professionals

Designing Everyday Products With Living Materials

Technological and economic opportunities, alongside its ecological benefits, suggest “Biodesign” as a new industrial paradigm for the production of material artefacts in the 21st century. This emerging design practice suggests the integration of living organisms, such as bacteria, (micro)algae, fungi, and plants, into design, as material sources (e.g., animal-free leather and fur-like materials; oil-free plastics and foam alternatives), energy and food generators, light sources, water and air purifiers, heat regulators, etc. However, despite the optimism and determination shared by designers, scientists and industries, thus far, the incorporation of biology in product design remains in the realm of the speculative or produce one-of-a-kind examples. The design potentials of living organisms for novice biodesigners are often challenging to unveil as this requires understanding the fundamentals of living biological systems and bioprocesses.

Biodesign Masterclass offers a two-day program to delve into the fascinating world of living organisms and get acquainted with the fundamental biodesign theories, tools, and methods to understand and design with living organisms for cleaner production and unique experiences in everyday products.


Learning Objectives

During this masterclass, you will:

  • learn the main theory and principles of biodesign;
  • get a feeling for biolab tools and machines, basic biolab technical and research skills to grow, maintain, and observe living organisms;
  • gain hands-on experiences in designing with a living organism (e.g., fungi, bacteria, algae);
  • gain competence in envisioning future applications for living materials.


  • Biodesign theory and principles;
  • Basic biolab training for safety, tools, and equipment;
  • Hands-on sessions with living organisms.

A clear explanation of the theory behind the method, followed by a hands on application of this method.

― Participant (2016)

This Master Class provided a method to the madness of material selection, which was very valuable.

― Participant (2016)


Dr. Joana Martins

Joana Martins is a Microbiologist specialized in a particular group of microorganisms – the cyanobacteria. Her work has been developed in the marine biotechnology field, namely in the study and valorization of bioactive natural compounds. Since January 2022, she is an Assistant Professor at IDE TU Delft in Biodesign, where she has been dedicating her research to the ‘living-materials’ for everyday products.


9:00 Welcome and coffee
9:30 Introduction and overview
Presentation of the aim and structure of the course, expectations and backgrounds of the participants
10:00 Lecture: Introduction to Biodesign
Motivation, theories, pratice review
11:00 Break
11:30 Workshop 1: Fundamentals of Organisms

Introduction to the world of living organisms

With demo of Mycelium-Based Materials (Expert: Wasabii Ng)
13:00 Lunch
at Porceleyne Fles
14:00 Hands On: Biolab
get acquaintes with biolab rules, tools and equipment's
15:30 Break

Hands On: Biolab

Introduction to the basics of microbiology techniques

17:30 End of the first day
9:30 Workshop 2: Designing with Microalgae (Biolab/Hands On)
Expert: Dr. Joana Martins
11:00 Break
11:30 Workshop 3: Designing with Flavobacteria (Biolab/Hands On)
Experts: Clarise Risseeuw and Ward Groutars
13:00 Lunch
at the IDE Faculty
14:00 Workshop 4: Living with Living Artefacts
Group session on possible application directions for the material (quest: Dr. Raphael Kim)l
15:30 Break
16:00 Discussion
Comments, questions from participants, possibilities for future projects
17:00 Drinks

Practical Information

All participants receive a copy of Karana’s book ‘Materials Experience 2: Expending Expanding Territories of Materials and Design’ (2022, Elsevier).

The relevant papers on Biodesign will be send as a PDF to you by mail at the beginning of the course. All materials provided are included in the course fee.

How to prepare?
This masterclass requires no specific preparation.

After the course
Two months after the course, a pre-set consultation timeslot will be offered to all participants to share experiences and ask questions to the IDE Master Class. The format and the timing will be discussed with the participants during the IDE Master Class.