Healing Materialities

from a biodesign perspective

This website contains the open content of an ongoing research on material scenarios based on regenerative processes, including living materials and life-enabling materials, defining the boundaries of newly designed materialities where the final goal is to support life.

“Instead of doing less damage to the environment, it is necessary to learn how we can participate with the environment - using the health of ecological systems as the basis for design”  - Bill Reed, 2007 -


This study lies in the intersection between the constantly evolving concept of sustainability, the material design discipline and biodesign, aiming at defining biomaterials' abilities to restore resources, remediate the environment and introduce new cultures and ecologies of regenerative materialities.                               The following manifesto is a first attempt to define these materials' features, highlighting the healing potential of biomaterials.


A/B/C Manifesto - Pollini, 2021


Healing Materialities in conversation with...

Informal interviews on materials from living organisms

Maurizio Montalti (ENG)

He is founder and creative director of Amsterdam-based practice Officina Corpuscoli (2010), where he investigates design-research subjects, reflecting on contemporary material culture as well as on the relationship between human and non-human agents, as part of the relational complexity of the dynamic ecosystem we all belong to. Working at the junction of design and biotech, Maurizio is one of the early pioneers committed to the study and development of wide-ranging mycelium-based technologies, focusing on the creation of innovative natural biomaterials and of the related artefacts and products. Maurizio is also co-founder, designer, and R&D director of Mogu, an innovation-driven design company dedicated to the creation of high-performance solutions and products deriving from fungi and the related fermentation-based processes. He has extensive educational experience, priorly co-heading the MAD Master (Materialisation in Art and Design) at Sandberg Instituut - Amsterdam, researching at Design Academy Eindhoven, and teaching, lecturing, and mentoring in various Dutch and international academies and universities. His work has been honoured with multiple awards, featured widely in the media, and exhibited globally in prestigious musea, galleries, and institutions, including Museum of Modern Art (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Design Museum (London), Triennale (Milano), MAXXI (Rome), and the Museum of Applied Arts (Vienna), among others.

To cite this interview:
Pollini, B. (2021). Healing Materialities in conversation with Maurizio Montalti. Retrieved (date), from https://healing-materialities.design/home/

To know more about projects and articles quoted in this track:
Officina Corpuscoli | dieDAS – Design Academy Saaleck | Mogu | Fungar
Lucibello S. & Montalti M. (2020). Beyond Human: New Paradigms of Active Collaboration in Design. DIID, 72, 26–33

Carla Langella and Mariangela Stoppa (ITA)

Carla Langella is an architect, PhD in Architectural Technology and associate professor in industrial design at the Department of Architecture and Industrial Design of the University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli" where she teaches Bio-innovation Design, Design for Scientific Visualization and Laboratory of Industrial Design. She has written numerous publications on the relationship between design and science, biomimicry and material design. Since 2006 she is heading the Hybrid Design Lab.

Mariangela Stoppa is a designer, PhD in Architecture and Experimental Design. She is the founder and director of BioDesArt, an association that investigates new ideas of materials, processes, and products through a multidisciplinary approach to enhance the territories' identity, new emerging technologies, new scenarios, and sustainable lifestyles. She is also the founder, CEO and creative director of BioFaber, operating in the sector of new nanostructured biomaterials for biomedical and design industries, particularly bacterial nano cellulose obtained from fermentation processes of wastes from the food industry. Her activities received various awards and grants such as Principi Attivi 2012, Laboratori dal basso 2012, Start Cup Puglia 2013, Disegni + 3 and Disegni + 4.

To cite this interview:
Pollini, B. (2021). Healing Materialities in conversation with Carla Langella and Mariangela Stoppa. Retrieved (date), from https://healing-materialities.design/home/

To know more about projects and articles quoted in this track:
Carla Langella | www.hybriddesignlab.org
Langella C (2007) Hybrid design. Progettare tra tecnologia e natura. Franco Angeli
Langella C (2019) Design & scienza. List, Trento
Mariangela Stoppa | biodesart.com | biofaber.com

Antoni Gandia (ENG)

M.Sc. Cellular and Molecular Biology of Plants by the Polytechnic University of Valencia (2011), Antoni is a consultant and research scientist specialized in fermentation and fungal biotechnology that has worked in several biotechnology companies and organisations across continents such as Mogu Srl (2018-2021), Ecovative Design LLC (2016-2017), Mushroom Production Center MPC GmbH (2015), Mondo Mycologicals B.V. (2014-2015), and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München LMU (2013-2014). Antoni co-founded MIMOSA in 2020 with partners from California, UK, Germany and The Netherlands and currently embraced the responsibility of setting up a demo laboratory and a production pilot plant in Amsterdam.

To cite this interview:
Pollini, B. (2021). Healing Materialities in conversation with Antoni Gandia. Retrieved (date), from https://healing-materialities.design/home/

To know more about projects and articles quoted in this track:
Mediamatic | Ecovative | Mogu | Mimosa Therapeutics
Adamatzky, A., Nikolaidou, A., Gandia, A., Chiolerio, A., & Dehshibi, M. M. (2021). Reactive fungal wearable. Bio Systems, 199, 104304. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biosystems.2020.104304
Gandia, A., Brandhof, J., Appels, F., & Jones, M. P. (2021). Flexible Fungal Materials: Shaping the Future. Trends in Biotechnology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tibtech.2021.03.002
Gandia, A., van den Brandhof, J. G., Appels, F. V. W., & Jones, M. P. (2021). Flexible Fungal Materials: Shaping the Future. Trends in Biotechnology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tibtech.2021.03.002
Gandia, A. (2015). Towards a human-fungal symbiosis: surviving the future. In Prototype Nature: Biologie als Startpunkt in Technologie, Kunst und Design für eine nachhaltigere Zukunft. Fraunhofer-Ge,sellschaft 10.24406/UMSICHT-N-531984

Marlene Huissoud (ENG)

French experimental designer. After graduating with a BA in Textile Design from the National School of Design & Fine Art in Lyon in 2011, she received an MA in Material Futures from London's Central Saint Martins' School of Art and Design in 2014. In 2021 she has been selected by AD Italy among the 100 Game Changers for the innovation of the design practice.

To cite this interview:
Pollini, B. (2021). Healing Materialities in conversation with Marlene Huissoud. Retrieved (date), from https://healing-materialities.design/home/

To know more about projects quoted in this track:

Martina Taranto (ENG)

Italian designer, artist and innovator. Her approach to design is holistic and emerges from a background that goes from philosophy, semiotic, anthropology to engineering, biology, physics. 
Her work and research gravitate around the necessity to find a compromise and a fluid dialogue between knowledge, human challenges and the environment. Martina’s practice combines critical design methods with magical elements. Through design, she aims to generate behavioural and ethical reactions, envision worlds made of synergies, enhance human intelligent sensibility in order to promote a world able to reach the ecological and ecosystemic balance and to support and foster social and natural justice.

To cite this interview:
Pollini, B. (2021). Healing Materialities in conversation with Martina Taranto. Retrieved (date), from https://healing-materialities.design/home/

To know more about projects quoted in this track:


BIO- > This prefix derives from the Greek root bio which means "life" and gives rise mainly to words that describe the sciences of "life" (eg biology, whose etymology is "the science of life and living beings") | BIO-ART > Art forms that relate in some way to biology, biotechnology and life (Zurr & Catts, 2003) | BIO-BASED > of biological origin. BIO-BASED MATERIALS are materials made from renewable biological resources (van der Meer, 2017)  | BIODESIGN > “An emerging and often radical approach to design that draws on biological tenets and even incorporates the use of living materials into structures, objects, and tools” (Myers, 2012) | BIOFABRICATION > “The production of complex living and non-living biological products from raw materials such as living cells, molecules, extracellular matrices, and biomaterials” (Mironov et al., 2009) |  BIOMATERIAL > In medicine “biomaterial” means a substance that has been engineered to interact with biological systems for a medical purpose, either a therapeutic or a diagnostic one. In design its meaning is still loose, it may refer to “a substance that is naturally produced, for example by plants or insects, and can be used as a material for making things or as fuel” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2021); In Biodesign, this definition may be a synonym of “bio-based material” or may refer also to materials made “of, with, or from biology” (Ginsberg and Chieza, 2018). In the context of Circular Economy and Bioeconomy “biomaterials” are meant as “materials made of biological resources”  (European Environment Agency, 2018)  | BIOPHILIA > The innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world (Wilson 1984). The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in 1964 stated that Biophilia is an orientation associated with “love for neighbour and love of life” (Söderlund, 2019). In architecture and design, the concept of BIOPHILIC DESIGN is used to describe increased connectivity among humans and natural agents, through the direct or indirect use of nature. | BIORECEPTIVITY > “The aptitude of a material (or any other inanimate object) to be colonised by one or several groups of living organisms” (Guillitte, 1995)  |  BIORECEPTIVE DESIGN > Cruz and Beckett (2016) were among the first to state a clear connection between design and bioreceptivity in the field of architecture, defining “bioreceptive design as a new material phenomenon that is changing the environmental and biologically-integrated performativity of architecture”. Recently, in an attempt to extend this definition to design, Pollini and Rognoli (2021) proposed a more inclusive definition with respect to the type of organisms, environments and applications involved, stating that bioreceptive design can occur whenever a “material/artifact is intentionally designed to be colonized by life forms”.  |  ECOSYSTEM > An ecosystem or biome describes a single environment and every living (biotic) organism and non-living (abiotic) factor that is contained within it or characterizes it. An ecosystem embodies every aspect of a single habitat, including all interactions between its different elements (biologydictionary.net) |  GROWING DESIGN > Defined as a design that arises "from a context of several approaches that cross-fertilize biology and design” (Myers, 2012), and ”a design practice in which designers grow materials from living organisms" (Karana et al., 2018) | LIFE-ENABLING MATERIAL > Material especially designed to support life - e.g. bioreceptive materials - (Pollini and Rognoli, 2021)  |  MATERIAL ECOLOGY > “An emerging field in design denoting informed relations between products, buildings, systems, and the environment" (Oxam, 2010). “Defined as the study and design of products and processes integrating environmentally aware computational form-generation and digital fabrication” (Oxman, 2013) | REGENERATIVE DESIGN > “A system of technologies and strategies, based on an understanding of the inner working of ecosystems that generates designs that regenerate socio-ecological wholes (i.e., generate anew their inherent capacity for vitality, viability and evolution) rather than deplete their underlying life support systems and resources.” (Mang and Reed, 2017)  | >> Ongoing



Pollini, B., & Rognoli, V. (2021). Project 13—Healing materialities from a biodesign perspective. In O. Pedgley, V. Rognoli, & E. Karana (Eds.), Materials Experience 2 (pp. 167–170). Butterworth-Heinemann. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-819244-3.00008-9

Pollini, B., & Rognoli, V. (2021). Early-stage material selection based on life cycle approach: Tools, obstacles and opportunities for design. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 28, 1130–1139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spc.2021.07.014

Pollini, B., & Rognoli, V. (2021). Enhancing living/non-living relationships through designed materials. CEES 2021 - International Conference on Construction, Energy, Environment and Sustainability. Editor: Itecons - Instituto de Investigação e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico para a Construção, Energia, Ambiente e Sustentabilidade. ISBN: 978-989-54499-1-0

Pollini, B. (2021). Sustainable design, biomimicry and biomaterials: exploring interactivity, connectivity and smartness in Nature. Chapter in: Rognoli, V., Ferraro, V (Eds.), “ICS Materials: interactive, connected, and smart materials”, Franco Angeli, Milano. 

Rognoli V., Ayala-Garcia C., Pollini B. (2021). DIY Recipes. Ingredients, Processes and Materials Qualities. Chapter in: Clèries L., Rognoli V., Solanki S. e Llorach P. (Eds.), “Material Designers. Boosting talent towards circular economies”, Elisava School of Design and Engineering, Barcelona. 

Parisi S., Shetty S. (2020). Alive, Provocative, Surprising: Emotional Dimensions of Bio-Synergistic Materials for Socially Meaningful Design. Diseña, (17), 128-159. 

Pollini B., Lavagna M., Rognoli V. (2020). LCA-based material selection in the early stages of design: environmental benefits, tools, obstacles and opportunities. IX Conference of the Italian LCA Network Association, Cortina d'Ampezzo (BL).

Pollini B., Pietroni L., Mascitti J., Paciotti D. (2020). Towards a new material culture. bio-inspired design, parametric modeling, material design, digital manufacture. In Perriccioli M., Rigillo M., Russo Ermolli S., Tucci F., Design in the Digital Age. Technology, Nature, Culture (pp. 208-212). Bologna: Politecnica University Press, Maggioli editore.



Conference Abstract Book  | 21st Annual International Gatherings in Biosemiotics, 2021


Open access | MaDe book #DIY-Matrials #CircularMaterials, 2021

Open access | Understanding Bio Material Innovations. A primer for the fashion industry, 2020

Open access | Emerging Materials & Technologies, 2020

Conference Proceedings  | Alive. Active. Adaptive, 2017

Biofabricated materials for Design

Collecting case studies is an ongoing activity within this research, a qualitative selection is made based on material, process and narrative innovation. 

We are confident that in a more advanced stage of the research we will be able to share the case studies in a more interactive way. Do you want to suggest a case study that should undoubtedly be considered? 

The contents of this website are part of a doctoral research carried out by Barbara Pollini and supervised by Professor Valentina Rognoli. The research is funded by Politecnico's PhD scholarship.  

The title of this research is derived from a lecture held within the conference Caring Matters, organised within the project TAKING CARE by the Research Center For Material Culture, where the ongoing research was presented in a workshop session named ‘Healing Materialities’, defining the potentialities of biomaterials that have emerged so far under this perspective.