Prof. Dr. Valentina Rognoli
Since 2010 I have been dealing with sustainable design; specializing with a Master in Ecodesign and Eco-innovation, where I learned a life cycle design approach, and a Master’s Degree in Computational Design, where I deepened the integration of biomimicry for the development of new materials, based on generative modelling and additive manufacturing.
Over the years, I have researched D4S from different perspectives: as a designer, educator and consultant, deepening in recent years the topic of sustainable materials (mainly circular, organic, waste-based and biofabricated ones), paying attention to both industrial production and self-production phenomena, such as DIY-Materials. Matter, and its management in the design process, are often crucial in the environmental impact of products and services; for the same reason, materials can become a turning point in innovation and sustainability for future productions. This is the case for materials made from and with living organisms, which are today the focus of my PhD research. With a transdisciplinary approach combining material design, biology and ecology, the study investigates how this new emerging materiality can be framed in the context of sustainable design. As a PhD candidate, I have been involved in the EU-funded project “MaDe: Material Designers. Boosting Talent towards Circular Economy”. Currently, I’m involved in the research project “De_Forma: Design Explorations on bio-Fabricated Organic Materials” in Politecnico di Milano; I’m a Visiting PhD student at ITESO, Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara, Mexico, collaborating with Materioteca ITESO and lecturing for the course of Circular Materials; I’m sharing my research path(s) on healing-meterialities.design, an online observatory where I’m making available tools, publications and expert interviews on biodesign and biofabricated materials.
HEALING MATERIALITIES FROM A BIODESIGN PERSPECTIVE
My research focuses on those material scenarios based on the regenerative processes of resources instead of depletion. Including both living materials (made of and with living organisms) and life-enabling materials (inert materials welcoming and supporting life), this study develops in a context of multispecies design.
The research intersects the constantly evolving concept of sustainability, the material design discipline, and biodesign – the latter being a radical approach based on the integration of living organisms as functional components in the design process. The study originates from a transdisciplinary approach, adopted to understand the implications that living materials can have on sustainable design, aiming to define the boundaries of newly designed materialities where the final goal is to support life.
The conceptual framework deriving from this research is defined as Healing Materialities, highlighting the reconciling and repairing attitude of these materials, and framing them in a regenerative design perspective.
My research path is available via an online observatory where tools, publications, and interviews with experts are shared (beta version accessible here).