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  • Roya Aghighi


    Designer in residence

    [email protected]



    Dr. Elvin Karana

    Roya is a multidisciplinary designer holding two industrial design degrees from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Canada and Iran University of Science and Technology. Through her practice she aims to highlight the critical role of design in shaping human behaviours. Being a multidisciplinary designer, she activates the gap between various fields and aims to push the borders between traditional academic disciplines to explore and introduce alternative future possibilities.

    She has been exploring with materials as the fundamental element to re-imagine the role of designer as well as shifting the emphasis from product to process. She believes that focusing on materials could shape a new way to experience the world and how we position ourselves within it. Roya has been one of the material activist designers-collaborating with material engineers, scientists and biologists at University of British Colombia for past years to activate bio-design practices in Canada. She was speaker, Panelist and her work was presented in various exhibitions and conferences such as: Fashion Colloquium-Arnhem Netherlands 2018, Vancouver Design Week-2018, Pollima Material Revolution-Los Angles 2018, Bioneers conference-Los Angles 2018. Roya currently is a designer in residence at Material Experience Lab working on application of living textiles in design practice and researching its impact on human interactions with clothing.

    CURRENT Project


    The adoption of fast fashion has had disruptive effects on environmental, social and behavioural factors globally. The drastic increase to the environmental impacts of textile waste and fast fashion consumption urgently need to be addressed. The fundamentals of our global/economic fashion industry need to be restructured beginning with the destructive nature of our current mainstream relationship to clothing. This dynamic has significant consequences. Fashion consumption has become a passive act, and we no longer care for the longevity of our clothing. Clothing is often disposed long before it reaches its expected life. The negative impacts of textile and fashion industry from environmental aspects are far greater than what it could be seen on the surface. From the 500,000 toxic nano-fibres that are released into water every time we wash our clothes, to the enormous carbon emissions emitted through both the production and disposal of our clothing, fashion has become a compromise that comes at a huge human, social, and environmental cost. What if clothes were alive and photosynthesized?

  • Luca Alessandrini
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    Luca alessandrini

    Ph.D. Candidate - Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

    [email protected]

    [email protected]



    Prof. Valentina Rognoli

    Luca Alessandrini grows up immersed in the world of design and entrepreneurship working as designer and project manager for Stilema s.r.l. from 2010 to 2015 traveling between China, Italy and Middle-East.

    Intrigued by innovative disruptive processes and ideas generation, in 2014 Luca moves to London to join the double MSc/MA in Innovation Design Engineering between Royal College of Art and Imperial College.

    On 2016, Luca patents an innovative approach to exploit the acoustic properties of natural composite materials. With the use of this technology, he designs a series of musical instruments built using a silk and spider silk composite obtaining international recognition and winning several awards.
    On 2020, Luca became a funded PhD student at the Politecnico di Milano fostering his research previously developed working with natural materials; meanwhile Luca is consulting brands, designing and engineering innovative products with an aware perspective leading to sustainable production paths.

    Current Project


    This research aims to create an “organic waste network/platform” able to supply waste and biodegradable products that could be turned into “raw materials”. In this regard, the research will focus on the identification, classification and mapping of a series of waste products with properties that enable them to be reintegrated in scalable production processes and to create new sustainable materials suitable for design and consumption products.

  • Bahar Barati

    BaharEH Barati

    Ph.D. Candidate - Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

    [email protected]



    Dr. Elvin Karana

    Prof. Dr. Paul Hekkert

    Bahareh is currently working towards her Ph.D. degree on the topic of creative design with underdeveloped smart materials. In the context of Light.Touch.Matters, a European Union FP7 project (2013-2016), she has explored the situation of designing in “upstream” collaborative projects to enable “design-driven” material innovation.  Her work acknowledges that looking at product design as an ad-hoc wrapping for some pre-determined material characteristics overshadows the importance of making and realizing in “negotiation with the material”. Giving power to this overlooked voice in discovering new possibilities with underdeveloped materials, her research put forward a number of theoretical and practical design supports (Hyperlink to the LTM design tool). The design supports particularly focus on characterizing and communicating the temporal and experiential aspects of these underdeveloped smart materials, as the development team explore the unique potentials of material-product development. Prior to this PhD research, Bahareh acquired her M.Sc. (cum laude) in Integrated Product Design from Technical University of Delft in 2012. In collaboration with Phillips Research (Eindhoven, the Netherlands), she developed a probe set for sensory evaluation of textile materials for her graduation project (Hyperlink to graduation project). In 2013, she was nominated for UfD-Royal HaskoningDHV Best Graduate Award. Bahareh is an alumnus of the University of Tehran and has maintained her contact with this university, through providing guidance and recently a workshop on interaction design (hyperlink to the news).

    Current Project


    February 2013 marked the start of Light.Touch.Matters, in which designers and material researchers joined forces to develop a completely new generation of smart materials that can sense touch and respond with luminescence. The base technologies are novel piezo plastics and flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Being thin, flexible and formable, these ‘light touch materials’ promise to revolutionize product design by integrating luminescence and touch in such a way that eventually the product becomes the interface (Project Link).

    In this project, Bahareh’s reserach aims at supporting a more profound understanding of underdeveloped smart material composites and their potentials. To that aim, she developed functional demonstrators that instantiate the design space, physical probes that explicate the (material-related) design variables, and a hybrid tool that allows for higher fidelity experiences of these underdeveloped smart materials. Together these components constitute a design toolkit


    1. Barati, B., Karana, E., Foole, M. (2017). Experience Prototyping’ Smart Material Composites. In Alive. Active. Adaptive: Proceedings of International Conference on Experiential Knowledge and Emerging Materials (EKSIG 2017), June 19-20, Delft, the Netherlands, pp. 50-65. 

    2. Barati, B., Karana, E., & Hekkert, P. (in review, available upon request). Understanding The Experiential Qualities of Light Touch Matters: Toward a Tool Kit. Journal of Artifact.

    3. Jansen, K., Claus, S., Barati, B. (2017). Designing of a semi-transparent Electroluminescent Umbrella. In Proceedings of Smart System Integration.  

    4. Barati, B., Karana, E., Jansen, K., & Hekkert, P. (2016, February). Functional Demonstrators to Support Understanding of Smart Materials. In Proceedings of the TEI'16: Tenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (pp. 386-391). ACM. 

    5. Barati, B., Karana, E., & Hekkert, P., Jönsthövel, I. (2015, November). Designing with an Underdeveloped Computational Composite for Materials Experience. In Proceedings of EKSIG 2015: Experiential Knowledge Special Interest Group.

    6. Barati, B., Karana, E, Hekkert, P. (2015, October). From Way Finding in the Dark to Interactive CPR Trainer: Designing with Computational Composites. In Proceedings of DesForm 2015.

    7. Barati, B., Karana, E., Sekulovski, D., & Pont, S. C. (2015). Retail lighting and textiles: Designing a lighting probe set. Lighting Research and Technology, 1-22.
    8. Karana, E., Barati, B., Rognoli, V., & Zeeuw Van Der Laan, A. (2015). Material driven design (MDD): A method to design for material experiences. International journal of design, 19 (2) 2015.

  • Serena Camere

    Dr. Serena Camere

    Post Doc - Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

    [email protected]

    [email protected]


    Dr. Elvin Karana

    Serena Camere is a multidisciplinary industrial designer and Post-Doc researcher working with bio-based Emerging Materials. In the research project  “Growing Design”, she deals with materials grown from living organisms, such as fungi and bacteria.  

    Serena concluded the PhD (cum laude) in March 2016 with a thesis titled “Experience (Virtual) Prototyping”, which explored the potential of new CAD/CAM technologies for experience-driven multisensory design. Within this research, she developed methods and tools for designers, to assist them during the use of these technologies for experience-driven design. During her MSc. in Milan, she matured a deep interest for materials that evolved into her graduation project, ‘Segni in Superficie/Timelapse’, which was awarded with honors at the Politecnico di Milano and the Honorable Mention of Lucky Strike Talented Design Award 2013. For this project, Serena collaborated with Serralunga design company to research new expressive qualities of plastics, developing a technique to make plastics age gracefully.

    After the PhD, her research naturally evolved towards the Experiential Characterization of Materials, coupling her interest for materials with the research skills developed during the PhD. In the STW-funded project “Mycelium-based materials for product design”, she is in charge of conducting a series of characterization studies (both on a technical and experiential level) to assess the material’s properties. The results of these studies will be then used to stimulate the further development of the material and its embodiment in products.

    During her career, Serena has been constantly seeking for opportunities to merge design practice and design research. This has led her to engage in several design contests and projects, in parallel to the academic career. In the past, Serena has collaborated with design studios and design companies, such as Skitch, Serralunga, Alessi, Woodnotes, Camparisoda, Eurochocolate, Design Innovation and Fiat-Chrysler.

    PROJECT (2016-2017)


    One of the challenges of this century is to transform our current economy into an eco-friendly and self-sustaining system. An innovative approach is the use of mycelium for the development of materials. Mycelium is an interwoven network of fungal filamentous cells called hyphae. Fungi form these mycelia on a wide variety of organic substrates. Mushroom forming fungi are known for their efficient colonization of ligno-cellulosic substrates like wood and straw. In this project, we aim to develop a palette of mycelium-based composite materials with different physical properties ranging from elastic to rigid, water-absorbing to water-repellent, and porous to compact. The MELAB Post Doc researcher, Serena Camere, explores how mycelium based materials are experienced in products. The results of the research support further development of the material. 


    1. Camere, S., Karana, E. (2017). Growing Materials for Product Design. In Alive. Active. Adaptive: Proceedings of International Conference on Experiential Knowledge and Emerging Materials (EKSIG 2017), June 19-20, Delft, the Netherlands, pp. 101-115.
    2. Karana, E., Blauwhoff, D., Hultink, E. J., Camere, S. (in preparation, available upon request), When The Material Grows: A Case Of Material Driven Design

    3. Camere, S., Schifferstein, H.N.J. & Bordegoni, M. (2016). Materializing experiential visions into sensory properties. The use of the Experience Map. In Proceedings of Design and Emotion 2016, September 27-30 (pp.201-210) (Best Paper Award)

    4. Camere, S. (2016). Experience (Virtual) Prototyping. The use of virtual technologies to support experience-driven design process (Doctoral dissertation, Politecnico di Milano, Italy).

    5. Camere, S., & Bordegoni, M. (2016). A lens on future products: an Expanded notion of prototyping practice. In Proceedings of DESIGN2016, Dubrovnik, Croatia, May 16-19.

    6. Camere, S., & Bordegoni, M. (2016). Unfolding the notion of Experience (Virtual) Prototyping: A Framework for Prototyping in an Experience-Driven Design Process. Journal of Integrated Design and Process Science, 20(2), 17-30.

    7. Caruso, G., Camere, S., & Bordegoni, M. (2016). System based on abstract prototyping and motion capture to support car interior design. Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 13(2), 228-235.

    8. Bordegoni, M., Camere, S., Caruso, G., & Cugini, U. (2015). Body tracking as a generative tool for experience design. In International Conference on Digital Human Modeling and Applications in Health, Safety, Ergonomics and Risk Management (pp. 122-133). Springer International Publishing.

    9. Camere, S., & Bordegoni, M. (2015). A strategy to support experience design process: the principle of accordance. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 16(4), 347-365.

    10. Camere, S., Caruso, G., Bordegoni, M., Di Bartolo, C., Mauri, D., & Pisino, E. (2015). Form follows data: a method to support concept generation coupling experience design with motion capture. In DS 80-5 Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 15) Vol 5: Design Methods and Tools-Part 1, Milan, Italy, 27-30.07. 15.

    11. Camere, S., Schifferstein, H. N., & Bordegoni, M. (2015). The experience map. A tool to support experience-driven multisensory design. In Proceedings of DesForm 2015 (pp.147-155), 13-17 October, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

    12. Camere, S., & Bordegoni, M. (2014). The Role of the Designer in the Affective Design Process: the Principle of Accordance. In Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Applied Human Factors and Engineering (pp. 66-77).

    13. Gatti, E., Bordegoni, M., & Camere, S. (2014). Experiences and Senses: An experimental based methodology for design optimization. In Proceedings of 9th International Conference on Design & Emotion (pp.340-348), October 8-10, Bogota, Colombia.
  • Elvin Karana

    Prof. DR. Elvin Karana

    Professor - Delft University of Technology

    Co-Founder and Co-Head of Materials Experience Lab - The Netherlands

    [email protected]



    Elvin Karana is Professor of Materials Innovation and Design in the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology. Giving emphasis to materials’ role in design as experiential and yet deeply rooted in their inherent properties, Elvin explores and navigates the productive shifts between materials science and design for materials and product development in synergy. Over the last years she developed theories, tools and methods to enable the understanding of materials experience actionable in material-driven design practice. In 2015, she co-founded the international research group Materials Experience Lab with Valentina Rognoli (Politecnico di Milano). Elvin has over 80 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals and conferences. She is the main editor of Materials Experience: Fundamentals of Materials and Design (Elsevier, 2014). In 2019, she founded the creative biodesign research lab Material Incubator, that aims at designing materials that incorporate living organisms, and exploring their potential in fostering an alternative notion of the everyday. Material Incubator brings together researchers and practitioners from Avans University of Applied Sciences and Delft University of Technology.

  • Clarice Risseeuw
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    PhD Candidate – Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.

    [email protected]


    Prof. Dr. Elvin Karana

    Dr. Holly McQuillan

    Dr. Joana Martins

    Clarice is a PhD candidate at the TU Delft, exploring the potential of flavobacteria’s living colour as responsive medium. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design Engineering as well as a master’s degree in Integrated Product Design from the same university. During her studies in Delft and an exchange program at the NTNU, Norway, she was more and more attracted to bio design as it was the perfect way to combine her passions for design and nature. She started working with flavobacteria during her graduation project, in which she characterized, captured and communicated this organism’s vivid structural colourations. Afterwards, she joined Materials Experience Lab as a biodesign researcher of Caradt to continue her research. Still amazed by this beautiful microorganism, Clarice has now returned to the TU Delft as a PhD candidate, supervised by Prof. Dr. Elvin Karana, Dr. Holly McQuillan and Dr. Joana Martins.

    Current Project

    The PhD research focuses on exploring the potential of flavobacteria’s living colour as responsive medium. Bridging microbiology and design, we aim to take flavobacteria out of the lab and develop a living responsive material able to communicate through vivid colourations. Here we envision soft interfaces that can be activated by the user, offering unique possibilities for interaction design.

  • Davine Blauwhoff

    Davine Blauwhoff

    Researcher - Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

    [email protected]



    Dr. Elvin Karana

    Ir. Mark Lepelaar

    In 2016 Davine Blauwhoff (26) graduated as an Industrial Designer from Delft University of Technology. Her previous studies include a bachelor program Industrial Design at the University of Technology Eindhoven and the propaedeutic year at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Apart from education, she enjoys various sports (field hockey and athletics) and expresses her creativity by making interior design products or cooking spectacular food!

    Throughout the years of studying design, at different institutions, she developed a strong interest in materials. To her, materials are a source of inspiration and a way to express ideas. During her graduation she did a Material Driven Design project where Fungi (mycelium) was the point of departure. Of course this has to be one of her favorite materials! Slightly more conventional, she is very fond of wood (especially Olive wood) and finds ceramics very exciting to work with.

    As a graduated industrial designer, Davine positions herself between design, materials and research and has a strong interest in innovation and sustainability. Throughout the design process she thoroughly analyzes, explores and experiments in a structured way. Preferring to visualize, shape and detail her ideas through prototyping, she can translate her creativity into something tangible. In her work she pays a lot of attention to aesthetics where both shape and material integrate to support its function and product interaction.

    Currently Davine has two part-time occupations, which are both material driven: 1) Freelance design researcher at TU Delft on a project with waste fibers & bio-plastics (Recurf) and 2) Junior researcher at CoE BBE (Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy) working with mycelium for the building industry. Prior working experiences comprise an internship at Studio Kees, an industrial Design agency, and Materia, an online material library. 



    The residents of Amsterdam produce an average of 17kg of textile waste per person per year. Of this, only 16% is collected separately. The rest end up as residual waste and will be incinerated. Only apart of the separated gathered textile is suitable for reuse or high quality recycling. The combination of textile wastefibres and bio-based plastics produce new materials with unique properties. Together with clothing collection organization Sympany, the AUAS is doing research to the possibilities of making lasting products with the discarded textiles of the inhabitants of Amsterdam. But also companies as Starbucks and Schiphol airport have textile waste flows; a unique circular product and business model arises by processing these for example in furniture for their own shops or departure and arrival halls.

    In this project, Materials Experience Lab Researcher, Davine Blauwhoff, explores the design potential of waste textile-PLA composite materials. Applying the Material Driven Design (MDD) method (link), Davine develops unique materials and product applications which bring the unique qualities of the material forward.


    1. Karana, E., Blauwhoff, D., Hultink, E. J., Camere, S. (in preparation, available upon request), When The Material Grows: A Case Of Material Driven Design

Material is a Medium. It communicates ideas, beliefs, approaches; compels us to think, feel and act in certain ways; enables and enhances functionality and utility. Materials Experience emphasises this role of materials as being simultaneously technical and experiential.


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