furniture farm gavin
Guided Growth

The Designer who Grows Furniture

When Gavin Munro was playing in his garden as a young boy, he noticed that an overgrown bonsai tree had the distinct appearance of a chair. Soon after, he got a spinal graft, requiring him to wear a back brace to heal and align his bones: “There were long periods of staying still, plenty of time to observe everything going on and reflect” he recalls.

Today Munro is creating a farm where planted trees can be grown around braces and harvested as fully formed chairs, sculptures, lamps, and tables.

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Digital Native

Analogue vs Digital: Vinyl Revival

The vinyl record has been the main vehicle for the commercial distribution of pop music from the 1950s until they were replaced by the Compact Disc. CDs didn’t keep it up for so long. Since the early 2000s, CDS have been largely replaced by digital downloads and mp3 players. Conversely, vinyl sales have begun to grow. Vinyl is more popular then ever! The revival of vinyl is considered to be part of the greater revival of retro style, since many of today’s vinyl buyers are way too young to remember listening to them back then.

From the Analogue vs Digital Memory Game

Microbial Factories

Interview: Suzanne Lee, Fashion Innovator Who Grows Clothing in the Laboratory

Imagine you could grow your own clothes, using fermented tea, bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms that can spin the ingredients into eco-friendly fibers. This is exactly what fashion designer Suzanne Lee pioneered. She investigated the possibility of creating clothing through the use of microbial cellulose. For this research project Lee coined the term Biocouture, which transitioned to a biocreative consultancy some years ago.

Today, she is the Creative Director of Modern Meadow Inc, an innovative New York-based team of scientists, engineers, designers and artisans developing cultured animal products and exploring new ways to create sustainable animal materials, such as lab-grown leather. Lee is also founder of Biofabricate, the leading event for the field of design, biology and technology, focused on the emerging world of grown materials.

We recently talked with Suzanne Lee about the textile industry and technology, growing leather in the lab, and the use of new alternative materials in the future of fashion.

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Anthropo-scene #9: Sense, Sensors, Sensitivity

In 1928 Alfred Döblin, one of Germany’s great authors, wrote a book that in my eyes should become part of the official intellectual ancestry of the Anthropocene. It’s called “Das Ich über der Natur”, the Self Above Nature. But it’s not about human arrogance and domination of Earth, quite the opposite. Döblin describes ways how to immerse ourselves in Nature.

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Forward to Nature

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Virtual worlds, printed food, living cities, wild robots – we’re so surrounded by technology that it’s becoming our next nature. How can we live in harmony with it? The Next Nature Network is a 21st century nature organization that wants to go forward – not back – to nature. We stir debate, create events, exhibitions, publications and products that bring biology and technology into balance. Because ultimately, we may not just have to save the pandas but the people too. Will you join us?

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Analogue vs Digital: Drone Wars

The use of armed drones has dramatically escalated during the war in Pakistan. Some in the media have referred to the attacks that started in 2004 as a drone war. The difference is hard to tell on these cards. The plane on the right is controlled by a pilot that bombs miles away from the actual combat zone where the plane operates. But still, some of the drone pilots even get post-traumatic stress symptoms from commanding these war machines.

From the Analogue vs Digital Memory Game


Computer Generated… Errrmm?

Some days ago, this image was posted on with the alluring title “This image was generated by a computer on its own (from a friend working on AI)”. It portrays a computer generated representation of what seems to be some kind of squirrel-meets-sea-lion-meets-slug-type of creature.

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Manufactured Animals

MIT Lets Robot Cheetah Off Leash

Robot Cheetah has grown up! Scientists at MIT’s Biometrics Robotics Lab have now trained their robo-feline Cheetah to detect obstacles and jump over hurdles as it runs, making it the first four-legged robot able to run and jump autonomously.

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Analogue vs Digital: Augmented Reality

The perception of the analogue is no longer limited to its physical elements. Loads of digital layers are placed over the analog to enrich our in real life experiences. Augmented reality, like Google’s Glass is already wearable and will become more invisibly incorporated into our bodies. Get ready for a future in which the digital is literally your first point of view.

From the Analogue vs Digital Memory Game