Designing with Insects: From Metaphoric to Applied
Donna Sgro and Christopher Kaltenbach will present their respective design research with insects, and hold a discussion about how and why engaging with these animals can provide new insights into integrating biology with design, from remodelling design approaches and creating innovate design outcomes, to reframing our understanding of the value of nature. They both conduct research through design practice by integrating novel processes and methodologies which embed interdisciplinary approaches, with the subject of insects.
Donna will discuss her approach to fashion and textile design through metaphoric use of insects. Based on her observational studies of butterflies, she has created innovative methods of pattern cutting, while at the same time critiquing traditional industrial modes of production in the industry. Christopher will discuss his applied approaches to designing with and for insects, predominantly arising through studies of insect culture in Japan. Christopher’s design practice engages across interior architecture, speculative retail spaces, culinary, pet markets (insect terrariums) biochemistry and environmental entomology.
With insects critical to biodiversity, and their numbers in steep decline around the world, many of these animals are yet to be classified, which is deepening the ambivalence of their importance. Unfortunately the value of insects remains connected to modernist narratives, which frames them as undesirables. How can designers engage with these animals to offer new visions for insect-human relationships that will assist to reframe them and their critical role in biodiversity.
Donna Sgro is a fashion and textiles design practitioner who teaches in the interdisciplinary design program in the School of Design at the University of Technology Sydney. Her design practice focuses on creative pattern cutting spanning fashion design and textile design practice. Currently she is completing her PhD at RMIT University, ‘Dynamic Cutting: how material creativity and spatial creativity can be activated in fashion design practice using metaphor'. In her research she studies butterfly metamorphosis, as a means of transforming the practice of cutting in fashion design. Her biomimetic fashion design using Morphotex fabric, is held in international collections, including Biomimicry Europa, Science Museum London, and Taiwan Science Education Centre.
Christopher Kaltenbach is a designer and writer who has worked in interdisciplinary roles in design and design education in Australia, Canada, Japan, Macau and the United States. He is the founding director of the interdisciplinary design studio actionfindcopypaste. Clients include the French outdoor clothing company Aigle, the Japanese beverage producer Kirin, the Japanese condominium real estate company Mitsubishi Jisho and the University of New Mexico Art Museum (U.S.A.). He is associate professor of interdisciplinary design in the Master of Design and Division of Design programs at NSCAD University in Halifax, Canada and is a PhD candidate at RMIT University.
Faculty of Design, Architecture & Building
Design Cultures | Transformative Technologies & Data Poetics Research Clusters event.