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Rethinking algae for design


Thursday 6 February 2020
6.30 — 8pm

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Algae Platform

© Kristof Vrancken

Algae has far more design potential than you might think. Join us for a panel discussion on the possibilities of algae in architecture.

Atelier Luma launched the Algae Platform in 2016 to research the potential of algae grown in different locations around the world as an alternative bio-sourced material for design. London is an unique environment for this research, which allows us to look at algae as a sustainable resource available in both natural, urban, and industrial landscapes. Following iterations in Arles, Cairo, Istanbul and Milan, the Royal Academy’s Architecture Studio is now transformed into a laboratory to explore the different types of algae grown in London and its applications for architecture.

Marking the close of the project Algae Platform [London] in the Architecture Studio, led by designer Samuel Iliffe, we will bring together a panel of architects and designers to explore the potential uses of algae as an alternative bio-material for architecture and design. After presenting short introductions to their work, the speakers will engage with the variety of uses and challenges that algae as a material unlocks and discuss its benefits as a local, biodegradable, and sustainable resource.

At the end of the discussion, the panel will also take questions from the audience.

Algae Platform [London] is organised in partnership with Atelier Luma, the design research programme of Luma Arles.


Jan Boelen (chair) is the Artistic Director of Atelier LUMA and Rector at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. Formerly, he was Artistic Director of Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Hasselt and curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial.

Nancy Diniz is a registered architect and partner of bioMATTERS, a company developing products manufactured 100% out of waste. She is the course leader of the MA in Biodesign at Central Saint Martins and has curated exhibitions, workshops and symposia internationally.

Samuel Iliffe is a material designer trained at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, designer-in-residence of Algae Platform [London] at the Royal Academy of Arts and founder of Aromavert.

Dr. Brenda Parker is a Lecturer in Sustainable Bioprocess Design at the Department of Biochemical Engineering, UCL and is Director of the MSc Bio-Integrated Design in collaboration with the Bartlett School of Architecture. Brenda’s current research investigates scale up of algal biotechnology and bioremediation.

Seetal Solanki is a materials designer, researcher and educator based in London. She is Founder and Director of Ma-tt-er, a materials research design studio, consultancy and school which advises, designs, and educates on what materials are and can be in order to implement a more responsible future.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Thursday 6 February 2020

6.30 — 8pm

The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£15, £9