Power, J and Bernabei, R, Biologically Inspired Designs, Advances in Manufacturing and Processing of Materials and Structures, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Y Bar-Cohen (ed), Boca Raton, USA, pp. 53-74. ISBN 9781138035959 (2018) [Research Book Chapter]
Product designers are engaging with new making opportunities that depart from traditional massproduction
processes and are forming new collaborations shifting practice and material opportunities.
Pioneers in the field of biological art, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr have said, "Life is increasingly
seen as the new frontier for exploitation; from industrial framing through in-vitro meat and bioprospecting
to synthetic biology, life is extracted from its natural context into the realm of the
manufactured" (Catts and Zurr, 2013). The concept of growing products is an enticing one for both
designers and users, with positive impacts on a number of scales including ecosystem impacts.
Design and art historian Christina Cogdell (2011) has noted that scale is "absolutely critical to
the theory and practice of bio-design, yet it is little mentioned by its promoters." In the context of
product design, scale is perhaps best considered in relation to scale of production. Such a viewpoint,
however, must recognize the impact of this production across various scales. It suggests guilt-free
production and consumption at an individual level, and at an urban scale, such production could
facilitate a utopian polis that is self-sufficient, existing in equilibrium with the natural world. In this
sense, the promise of bio-design is enticing, in addition to the new materials and ways of making
that are being opened up to designers. It has been suggested by William Myers that "The spread of
bio-design promises to be much like mechanization in the 20th century, as described by historians
such as Sigfried Giedion… upending accepted practices, extinguishing traditions, attenuating natural
beauties, and shaping an alien way of life" (Myers, 2012). Designer and a leading thinker in this
field Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg has asked, "When working in such a future-oriented area, a key
question that arises is how to inhabit the spaces of promise?" (Ginsberg et al., 2014).