Synthetic Morphologies is a design exploration project that emerges from a growing design discourse on the possibilities afforded by Synthetic Biology. The 21st century is poised to be the era of biology, very much like the 20th has been the age of digital information. The notion comes from recent advances from Synthetic Biology in manipulating and creating new living organisms that exhibit unprecedented traits in nature. Design, as many other fields, has felt the influence of such a paradigmatic shift. In architecture, for instance, a growing body of speculative work imagines a future material reality enacted by hybrids of machine and living organisms, whereby building are grown rather than constructed.
Yet, Synthetic Morphologies poises the possibility that, in fact, Synthetic Biology presents design with a more profound
challenge—one that invites the restating of the discipline of design itself. To think, for instance, of building which are grown out of pre-programmed living organisms is to continue the classic paradigm of design wherein the designer is an almighty giver of form. I propose an alternative approach—an organicist-inspired material practice for synthetic biology. The projects in this website articulates a discourse that explores the significance and impact of combining design and synthetic biology. Mainly, it envisages a new paradigm in which design is more of an emergent event.
I believe the intersection of design and synthetic biology invites to think of design as a negotiation between different actors, some of which include the chemical environment, mechanical conditions, designers and living organisms themselves.
The video shows the development of a CAD tool where form is developed by manipulating rules of morphogenesis and enableing the cells to assemble themselves.