Scientists working in the emerging field of synthetic biology are genetically engineering living organisms to find new ways to produce fuels and materials. Could this change the way we design? Commissioned to investigate the future of mobility by Dezeen and MINI, Daisy developed an experimental research partnership with Imperial College London’s SynbiCITE synthetic biology centre to underpin the design work. A workshop for SynbiCITE scientists explored alternative visions and definitions of sustainability for synthetic biology, and informed a report designed to challenge synthetic biology’s official Roadmap.
Rather than subjecting biology to design, the design work imagines design subjected to biological rules. In this alternative vision for sustainable production, resource-intensive metals and plastics have been replaced by degradable biological materials that can be cheaply and efficiently replaced, whether wood or yet-to-be invented engineered biomaterials. Car companies no longer produce entire vehicles, but instead manufacture and distribute a durable chassis block onto which disposable, locally produced bio-shells are added. In this scenario, adaptation, mutation and evolutionary patterns would start to emerge. A single car diversifies down thirteen generations and across five climate zones to produce over one hundred different designs. Project page