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Hylē Morphē
= alive matter produces its own form

Timothy Morton -

“It isn’t hard to love nature in it’s awe inspiring beautiful landscapes. It is far harder to love the disturbing, disgusting beings who do not wear a human face”.

To build onto the existing knowledge, I wanted to design an artistic expression that invites the public to use their senses to reconnect with living organisms. The SCOBY fungi is a natural weaver as it protects the brew from invaders by growing a floating sheet. As a designer I see a behavioral adoption issue for us humans to include living materials in our lifestyle. We are not accustomed anymore to interacting with living materials. This is partly by the fact that chemical-based solutions are widely integrated into our lifestyle. Working with this material made me humble in its ingenious capabilities. Leaving me with the question how I can best introduce the possibilities of living materials to a larger audience who hardly interacts with living organisms.

Whilst working with this bio-based material I was surprised by the unique abilities linked to these living organisms. The fungi sheet floating in the brew  consists of a large amount of probiotics. Giving it interesting abilities to be used in cosmetics, wound healing and skin disease treatment. I am currently developing an applicator for using the living material on our skin. This will be shown during Dutch Design week 2021.

The work is grown with living bacteria called "Acetobacter bacteria". These bacteria are able with the help of oxygen to transform ethanol (alcohol) into acetic acid (vinegar) substances. Throughout a process of three weeks the bacteria is nurtured with the right environment to produce its fungi sheet called “cellulose-based biofilm”. I collaborate with Kombucha brewers who provide me with their byproduct.

Providing autonomy to children during medical treatment.


Conceptual research

Product design

Showcase during Dutch Design Week


The Charlie Braveheart Foundation

In collaboration with the Charlie Braveheart Foundation and Studio Bibi van der Velden, Dutch designer Josephine de Fijter has conceptualized a sensory object. That aims to prevent the child from enduring a traumatizing experience during medical care.


Medical encounters can leave a deep mark on the psyche of a child. They are often unnecessary frightening and stressful. The main aim is to bring autonomy back to the child by giving them a method of expression. The child receives the cuddle that will give them supported breathing throughout the examination. Rhythmic breathing exercises can have a long-term positive effect on our well-being. It stimulates brain regions that enable us to regulate our emotions.

The object is also designed to connect children and doctors towards a trusting relationship. Being medically trained, pediatricians are in need of empathy tools and resources to read the emotional state of a child. Aiki gives the doctor visual cues to understand the height of fear the child is residing in. Measuring the child's breathing tempo which translates into gradually changing the color of the object.

For Dutch Design Week 2020 we have assembled several panel talks with interdisciplinary speakers. Together, exploring how the design and health industry can collaborate to prevent and lower the stress-related symptoms linked to traumatic experiences.


Ieva Valule

Francesco Spaggiarian

Sander Hagelaar

Isaac Monte


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