The Nature Lab's approach to material innovation is rooted not only in sustainability, but in creating materials embedded in biological systems, through both natural metabolisms and created metabolisms.
In natural metabolisms, sometimes referred to a g-i-y, or grow-it yourself, organisms make our materials, as is the case with kombucha leather or mushroom foams from introduced feedstocks. Created metabolisms use biologically derived ingredients to fabricate materials with lab equipment, such as starch-, gelatin- or agar- based bioplastics. Some example processes can be viewed in the RISD Nature Lab Bioplastic Guidebook.
Like materials in nature, some are extremely ephemeral, like a flower petal, some can last a very long time indeed, like wood. All are ultimately biodegradeable. Samples of these and other bio-materials can be accessed in person upon request from the Nature Lab's biomaterials library.
For more information, please check out our Biodesign Makerspace website or contact Jen Bissonnette at email@example.com