Design for Symbiocene: Hybrid Materials and Symbiotic Objects - in Between the Grown and Made


This research is a part of an ongoing experimental design project that looks into the circumstances in which biological materials can be mixed with synthetic ones to form hybrid materials and symbiotic artifacts. The demand for materials has increased as a result of quick technology advancements and a “materialistic” culture. The materiality of plastic represents an anthropocentric society in which biological habitats, such as the human body, are hybridized with manufactured materials (i.e. hybrid materials). We might collaborate with different bacteria, fungi or algae to create a novel chapter and to create opportunities for symbiotic design, which could eventually aid in the transition from the Anthropocene, in which human activity dominates the climate and environment, to the Symbiocene, in which human action is exemplified by mutual interdependence and benefit for all living things, species, and ecosystem health. Design experiments are conducted using three different types of living materials—wheatgrass, mycelium, and bacteria. The following materials are examined under two different types of growth conditions: 1) growing mediums - learning from natural sciences and adopting scientific methods for an artistic research practice and 2) designed structures - attempting to broaden the scientific research on growing particular living materials by searching for different application methods in a design environment and observing how different surfaces and structures influence living materials to grow into symbiotic objects. Developing more circular products and public places may be impacted by the research’s insights on the enabling and limiting factors for producing hybrid materials and symbiotic objects.


Austeja Platukyte
Ph.d. candidate (Design Doctoral Studies) / Researcher / Entrepreneur, Department of Doctoral Studies / Project Department, Vilnius Academy of Arts, Vilnius Country, Lithuania

Ruta Valusyte
Professor and Head of Design Centre, Mechanical Engineering and Design Faculty, Kaunas University of Technology, Kauno Apskritis, Lithuania


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Designed Objects


Symbiotic design, Symbiotic products, Material design, Hybrid materials

Digital Media


Design for Symbiocene (pdf)