New Silk - What can we learn from spiders?

How to produce new types of silk-like materials in the context of synthetic biology
New Silk research project
Photo: Pirita Lauri

'The New Silk' research project studies new ways of producing sustainable materials in the future, especially how to produce new types of silk-like materials in the context of synthetic biology. The project team consists of scientists, material researchers and design researchers with textile expertise.

The goal is in the far future: how to design and produce material attributes at the DNA level through genetic engineering. The original inspiration for this project was a spider’s way of creating materials for its web using 'spider silk', a luxurious and sustainable material with properties that surpass existing synthetic materials. Collaboration between design and fundamental material science offers new tools to create and communicate alternative possibilities in the future. Throughout the project, the designers have been inspired by synthetic biology, trying to imagine what these new designed and engineered materials mean for the future. 

In this exhibition, three textile designers who are also members of 'The New Silk' research team have explored artistic ideas and thoughts which have been raised during the project. 

New silk Research group

This research project is a collaboration between Aalto University and University of Helsinki, and is part of the BioFuture25 programme by the Academy of Finland.

Working group: Pirjo KääriäinenKirsi Niinimäki and Pirita Lauri, Department of Design at Aalto University, Markus LinderLaura Lemetti, Teemu Välisalmi, Maria Sammalkorpi and Sousa Javan Nikkhah, School of Chemical Engineeringat Aalto University, Sami Hirvonen and Erno Karjalainen, University of Helsinki. Invited visitor designer Meri Zirkelbach, Lucerne School of Art and Design, Switzerland.

Contact: [email protected][email protected]

Designs for A Cooler Planet

Designs for a Cooler Planet – Helsinki Design Week 2019

During September 2019, Aalto University's exhibition programme for Helsinki Design Week, titled 'Designs for a Cooler Planet' will introduce solutions for more sustainable lifestyles in Otaniemi

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