Architect Magazine: Interview About the Use of Sustainable Materials in Design

Dr. Elvin Karana was recently interviewed by the renowned magazine Architect, on ‘DIY Design Makers Are Taking On Materials’. In the interview, she shared her vision on the futures of materials in design, and states that: “We see an ever-increasing number of examples that illustrate challenging couplings of materials science, design, engineering, and the social sciences for a common purpose of ‘design for meaningful material experiences’.”

Strawberry Earth Interviews Elvin Karana

Strawberry Earth interviewed Dr. Elvin Karana under the ‘Sustainable Mastermind’ series, on her endeavour to valorise the use of sustainable materials in design. Elvin had also recently been interviewed by the renowned magazine Architect, on ‘DIY Design Makers Are Taking On Materials’.


Strawberry Earth

Under the series of ‘Sustainable Masterminds’, Strawberry Earth interviewed Dr. Elvin Karana. She was introduced as: “She is on a mission to promote sustainable design materials, such as natural fibre composites, and to release them from their shady boxes, into the limelight.”

Strawberry Earth is a sustainability platform that seeks to inspire people to have a positive impact on their environment, both at home and work. It runs projects that fast forward the transition to a fair and green economy by focusing on the creative industries. They also launched the Strawberry Earth Academy in 2014, which is an international academy for experienced fashion and design professionals. 

In the interview, Elvin explained

“[…] Over the last decade, the deployment of sustainable product design has led to a dramatic increase in the use of biobased materials and materials made of waste, as an environmentally-sensitive substitute for petroleum-based ones. Being in the materials and design domain for a considerable time, I was naturally tempted to explore the roles of materials on a sustainable future.” 

Interaction Design workshop in University of Tehran

Aadjan van der Helm and Bahareh Barati held a 5-day workshop on the topic of Interaction Design (9th-14 Apr) in Kish Island. Forty Bachelor-level and Master-level students participated in the workshop. The workshop involved both lectures and practical sessions to familiarize students with tools and methods developed in IDE, on social design and interaction design.  The students were provided with a theoretical lens to explore and identify social interaction dilemmas in public spaces such as restaurants and offices. Some of the social interaction dilemmas found by the students included Œdilemma of using mobile phones instead of enjoying friend¹s company in restaurants¹ and Œdilemma of changing the temperature of an office environment according to individual¹s preference¹.  Nine teams of students used techniques, such as writing narratives, acting scenarios and making quick prototypes to explore the solution space. For example, one group came up with an idea to connect the customers to the restaurant chef, by allowing them to express their (dis)satisfaction to the chef through tangibly interacting with their plates. Another example was a working prototype of a mobile phone collector at the center of a restaurant table. In an idle state, a rotating light movement was considered to caused visual disturbance, thus encouraged people to place their mobiles and get a nice calm light as a reward. On the last day, the projects were exhibited in the main hall of the University, open to a large number of students and lecturers to experience 9 working prototypes. The workshop was closed with a panel discussion, in which students shared their experiences and insights on the workshop. The collaboration proved to be very useful for students, in learning the basics of prototyping with technology and the effect of early prototyping and iterations on conceptualizing and reflecting, and opening up the conceptions on what can be done with technologies involving light and touch (e.g. LEDs and touch sensors) in terms of expression and experience.

We were at the Dutch Design Week with Drop of Light!

A light emitting umbrella, a modular game console, a 3D printed Tom Dumoulin and a cuddling robot against insomnia. A small selection from the various projects exhibited at ’Mind the Step’ during the DDW. Have a look into a new world in which high quality design is incorporated visibly or invisibly!

For the third time, 4TU research centre Design United and TU Eindhoven organise the exhibition ‘Mind the Step’, where you can see and experience how research, design and technology can result in designs for the future. The exhibition is on display at Strijp-S, Klokgebouw 50 in Eindhoven, during the Dutch Design Week from 22 until 30 October. 




We Organize the next EKSIG Conference: Alive Active Adaptive

We organize the forthcoming international conference of the DRS Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge (EKSIG 2017), which will be held on 19 and 20 June, in Rotterdam.


This year the theme of the conference is Alive.Active.Adaptive,  which focuses on the experiential knowledge of designing with emerging materials that are alive, active and adaptive, whether by means of biological or computational processes or an integration of the two. The conference brings together design practitioners, researchers, engineers, architects and artists to discuss the future of emerging materials and its implications for design research and practice.

MDD Master Class for Professionals

Materials research is constantly evolving, leading to novel, superior materials like bio-based plastics, piezoelectric textiles, and temperature sensitive polymers. The potential experiences of these unfamiliar, unusual and novel emerging materials are often challenging to envision and design for.

Material Driven Design (MDD) supports the design of meaningful material applications with the material as a point of departure. Designers qualify the material not only for what it is, but also for what it does, what it expresses to us, what it elicits from us, and what it makes us do. MDD helps designers structure, communicate and reflect on their actions in design for material experiences, and gain design competences in exploring, understanding, defining and mobilizing the novel material properties.