Recap of our 80th Year

The Nature Lab's 80 anniversary culminated with Biodesign: From Inspiration to Integration, an exhibition curated in collaboration with William Myers. The exhibition ran from Aug 25—Sept 27 and showcased recent examples of design and art that inform our complex relationship with nature and help us decipher how it may evolve in the future. On opening day, we hosted a half-day symposium that brought together international artists, designers, scientists and educators for talks, discussions and presentations on topics such as valuing non-human forms of life as collaborators, artistic and scientific modes of inquiry, and ethical considerations in bioart and biodesign practices.

CLICK HERE to read the Biodesign: From Inspiration to Integration Catalogue

Many thanks to the following:

Lead Curator: William Myers
Co-Curators: Lucia Monge (MFA 15 SC), David Kim (MFA 14 DM)
Curatorial Assistants: Julia van den Hout (non-RISD) and Peter Rogers (MFA 19 DM)
Exhibition and Identity Design: Angela Torchio (MFA 19 GD)
Co-Partners|Sponsors: RISD Co-Works and Campus Exhibitions

Past events

Eating with the Ecosystem

October 08
11:00 am
Tillinghast Farm

Wonder: Nature Lab 80th Anniversary + Exhibition Opening

October 07
4:30 pm
Nature Lab

Hand-on workshops during RISD Weekend

October 06
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Nature Lab

Observing Nature: Edna Lawrence & Cabinet of Curiosities

Read full story about the Providence Athenaeum's Salon, "Edna’s Nature Lab | RISD’s Nature Lab" here.

April 06
Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit St, Providence, RI 02903

Open Call for Proposals! Biodesign: From Inspiration to Integration

Application process is now closed. Click here for more Information

March 15
Rhode Island School of Design, 2 College Street, Providence, RI 02903

Leave Your Mark at the Nature Lab

April 07

Latin-American Collection Exhibition: aka "The Greatest Show on Earth"

Find more details about this exhibition here.

April 05
13 Waterman Street, Providence, RI 02903

Biodesign Tour+Talk with Modern Meadow

Biodesign Tour+Talk with Modern Meadow

Modern Meadow is a pioneer in biofabrication using the latest tools from biotechnology to build a new world of materials. Their ZoaTM Biofabricated Materials are designed and grown from animal free collagen. Through the collaboration of design, biology and material science, they create materials to solve sustainability challenges while reimagining material possibilities.

Callie Clayton [BFA 17 TEXT], a Materials Design Research Associate on Modern Meadow’s Design Team, will speak to the role and work of the Design Team within the company and their pieces in the Nature Lab BioDesign exhibit. As a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design’s Textiles program with a concentration in Nature Culture Sustainability Studies, she will share how her background and experience working at Modern Meadow has shaped her perspective on what “making” means at the intersection of disciplines. Callie is looking forward to sharing how her interest in material exploration and the potential of biotech to shape sustainable futures, led her to Modern Meadow. As an inquisitive learner and maker, she strongly believes that collaboration and integration of all disciplines is integral to productive and intentional making."

The afternoon will begin with a tour of the exhibition led by co-curators Lucia Monge [MFA 15 SCULPT] and David Kim [MFA 14 D+M], followed by a talk by Callie Clayton [BFA 17 TEXT].

We hope you can join us!

Date: Thursday, September 27th

Location: Woods Gerry, 62 Prospect Street, Providence, RI 02903

September 27
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Woods Gerry, 62 Prospect Street, Providence, RI 02903

Biodesign: From Inspiration To Integration


From Inspiration to Integration

An exhibition curated by William Myers and the RISD Nature Lab, this show features the following works:

Hy-Fi—The Living
Mycelium architecture, made in collaboration with Ecovative and 3M.

Zoa™ Biofabricated Materials —Modern Meadow
Leather grown using yeasts that secrete collagen, and grown completely without animal derivatives.

The Indoor Microbiome—Biology and the Built Environment Center (BioBE Center)
The BioBE conducts research into the built environment microbiome, mapping the indoor microbiome, with an eye towards pro-biotic architecture.

The Cultivar Series (Zea Mays I)—Uli Westphal
A newly commissioned corn study, this project highlights the diversity of cultivars grown before the age of industrial monocultures.

The Cultivar Series (Lycopersicum III, Capsicum I, Phaseolus vulgaris I)—Uli Westphal
These studies highlight the spectacular variety among fruits, roots, and vegetables that result from mutations and polymorphism.

Suide Soda—Uli Westphal
This new project critically examines a product made from over half of all the corn grown for human consumption in the US: high fructose corn syrup, which is widely used in food and drink products such as soda.

Interwoven and Harvest—Exercises in Root System Domestication—Diana Scherer
Artist coaxes root systems plant root systems into patterns.

Fifty Sisters Morphogenesis Series—Jon McCormack
Artist algorithmically generates images that mimic evolutionary growth, but tweaks them to include aesthetics of the logos of global petroleum producing corporations.

Organs-on-Chips—Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering
Wyss Institute creates microchips that recapitulate the functions of living human organs, offering a potential alternative to animal testing.

AgroDerivatives: Permutations on Generative Citizenship—Mae-Ling Lokko
This project proposes labor, production criteria and circulation of capital within agrowaste/bioadhesive upcycling ecosystems.

New Experiments in Mycelium—Ecovative
Ecovative makes prototypes of mycelium items such as insulation, soundproofing tiles, surfboards, lampshades.

Bistro in Vitro—Next Nature Network
Installation with speculative future foods samples. The installation will include video screens and a cookbook on a table display.

bactoyou—Yuxin Cheng, Arian Ghousi, Juliette Van Haren, Ignacio Garnham Brandes
This project proposes a microbial time machine that empowers us to collect, sequence, explore, and back-up our previous, personal microbial states.

Beyond 100%—Tung Lin, Jaeky Cheong, Siho Chang
This design project proposes a future in which humans are genetically modified to acquire, manage, and share nutrition.

Burial Globes: Rat Models—Kathy High
This project presents glass globes that hold the ashes of the five HLA-B27 transgenic rats, each one named and remembered: Echo, Flowers, Tara, Matilda, Star.

To Flavour Our Tears—Center for Genomic Gastronomy
Set up as an experimental restaurant, this project places humans back into the foodchain — investigating the human body as a food source for other species.

Blood Related—Basse Stittgen
A series of compressed blood objects—inspired by Hemacite objects made from blood/sawdust compressed in a process invented in the late 19th century—highlights bloodwaste in the slaughterhouse industry.

Silk Poems—Jen Bervin
A poem made from a six-character chain represents the DNA structure of silk, it refers to the silkworm's con-structure of a cocoon, and addresses the ability of silk to be used as a bio sensor, implanted under people's skin.

Zoe—A Living Sea Sculpture—Colleen Flanigan
Zoe is an underwater structure, part of coral restoration research, that regenerates corals in areas highly impacted by hurricanes, human activity and pollution.

Aquatic Life Forms No. 2—Mikhail Mansion
Computationally generated lifeforms animated using motion-based data captured from Arelia aurita.

Algae Powered Thermometer—Fabienne Felder and Waldemar Matuska
By turning electrons produced during photosynthesis and bacterial digestion into electricity, algae will be used to power a small digital clock.

A Place for Plastics—Bioplastics, Bacteria, and Our Thoughtless Acts—Megan Valanidas
This designer presents a new process of making bioplastics that are bio-based, biodegradable AND compostable

The Materiality for Potential Consciousness & Holding Back is Another Kind of Need—Ani Liu
In the first project, the artist investigates how evolving technologies can alter people's notion of their identity and in the second, responds to recent neuroscience research that shows a correlation between olfactory stimuli and behavioral responses.

Pink Chicken Project—(Non)human (Non)sense/ Leo Fidjeland & Linnea Våglund

By changing the color of chickens to pink, this project rejects the current violence inflicted upon the non-human world and poses questions of the impact and power of synthetic biology.

Woods Gerry Gallery, 62 Prospect Street, Providence, RI 02903

RISD Weekend celebrated our 80th anniversary

The Nature Lab just turned 80 and it will be a year long celebration of our past and future. Alumni, students and families are all welcome to join the Nature Lab's 80th anniversary celebrations.

Tribute booth

Help us celebrate our anniversary by sharing your anecdotes about Miss Lawrence and the Nature Lab! A big thank you to the alums who have shared their memories of the Nature Lab so far.

Be a part of this celebration and share your favorite memory of the Nature Lab and what it meant to you by visiting:

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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The RISD Nature Lab is an EPSCoR|C-AIM Core Research Facility supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221 and EAGER Grant Award #1723559. ​​​Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the Nature Lab and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.​

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