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Continuing the Journey Towards Mainstreaming Bio-design

Continuing the Journey Towards Mainstreaming Bio-design

Thora Oskarsdottir

18 de setembro de 2023 às 12:00:00

As the CoCoon project concluded its second meeting it marks a significant leap forward for the CoCoon project. Hosted by Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, from September 11 to September 15, 2023

Helsinki, Finland - September 11-15, 2023

As the CoCoon project concluded its second meeting, it marks a significant leap forward for the CoCoon project. Hosted by Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, from September 11 to September 15, 2023, this gathering of international experts and collaborators has lifted the CoCoon project to new heights, all organized by Aalto Studios’ Cocoon project team (

The CoCoon project, which focuses on accelerating the integration of bio-design practices and education, brings together experts from various fields, encompassing design, education, science, policy-making, and engineering. It aims to bridge the gap between innovative bio-design concepts and their implementation, ultimately driving the green transition.

During the meeting, participants had the opportunity to delve into Finnish traditions, with a particular focus on the role of birch trees in developing the Chemarts project and the pioneering efforts of Biofilia in promoting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education. Of course, the steam from traditional Finnish saunas also played a role in the proceedings, without misting over our vision to accelerate the green transition.

Chemarts: Transforming Wood and Cellulose -

The Chemarts project was central to the meeting, a long-term strategic collaboration between two Aalto University schools - The School of Chemical Engineering (CHEM) and The School of Arts, Design, and Architecture (ARTS). These schools combined their efforts to invent new ways to harness wood and cellulose, focusing on the performance and design of advanced cellulosic materials for innovative uses.

One of the main objectives of Chemarts is to inspire students and researchers to explore biomaterials together and create new concepts for the future use of cellulose and other biomaterials. This includes multidisciplinary study courses, summer projects for Master' students, and externally funded research projects. Chemarts represents a groundbreaking initiative in sustainable material development.

For those eager to delve deeper, look at the Chemarts Cookbook!

Biofilia: Where Art Meets Life Sciences and Technology -

Biofilia, situated at the intersection of art, life sciences, and technology, was another highlight of the CoCoon project meeting. Biofilia provides artists, researchers, students, and scholars a platform to engage with life sciences and their applications within an artistic and cultural context. This allows for creative and critical links between biosciences, engineering, and the arts.

Founded in 2012 under the School of Arts, Design, and Architecture, Biofilia is a hub for trans-disciplinary research and education. It seeks to spark cultural discussions and innovations related to manipulating life and biological processes, exploring philosophical and ethical dimensions in the process.

Biofilia's laboratory and program were established between 2011 and 2013 in collaboration with Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts, artists and founders of SymbioticA – Centre for Excellence for Biological Arts at the University of Western Australia. Since then, Biofilia has been integrated into Aalto University's Master's Programme in Visual Cultures, Curating, and Contemporary Art and has played a vital role in the School of Arts, Design, and Architecture's infrastructure.

A Vision for the Future of Bio-design

Juhani Tenhunen, head of International Projects and Collaboration for Aalto studios concluded the meeting with a resounding belief in the transformative power of CoCoon's bio-design modules which will be constructed in 2024. It is foreseeing a more significant role of bio-design in the future for Fab Labs and prototyping. This second meeting was not just a convergence of minds but a crucible for valuable discussions and strategic sessions aiming to mainstream bio-design.

As the CoCoon project charts its course forward, it remains a testament to the collaborative spirit, unyielding dedication, and boundless innovation that drives the world of biodesign.

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