SPCS | Species A community exploring biological design

SPCS explores designs and forms of expression that collaborate with nature by actively confronting its uncontrollable factors through prototyping. Each season, we will invite a variety of lecturers to co-develop programs that mix natural sciences, design, art, engineering, culture, and other disciplines.

SPCS Talks

A series of interviews and discussions where we explore biodiversity and design.

Each session will feature speakers who are experimenting in various fields, and will be recorded and shared online in an archive.

For sessions held offline, we also set aside time for participants to mix and interact. We hope that this will birth new collaborations among participants from diverse backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPCS Talks Vol. 1
Creating a Learning Space for Biodiversity
Kaomai Estate 1955

 

 

 

 

 

SPCS Talks Vol. 2
Textile Dyeing with Bacteria
Letting Nature Design with Julia Moser

In recent years, we have experienced the explosion of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, which made us keenly aware of the difficulty of confronting an invisible opponent. On the other hand, we have also witnessed a microbiome and fermentation research boom, which reaffirms the fascination we feel towards microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and molds, that are familiar beings to us as much as profoundly unknown creatures. 

We have also been developing new creations by observing and actively engaging with nature. A recent example is the Amphibious Architecture floating pier in New York, built by taking advantage of the natural opening and closing of purple oysters, which can measure water pollution better than any modern sensor. another one is the Silk Pavilion created by US-based Oxman research laboraty, which uses the genetic input of silkworms.

In recent years, as manifested in terms such as post-human-centered design and the multispecies studies, the idea of viewing the world from the perspective of the relationship between humans and non-human life and the environment has gained increasing traction. In order to design human activities as a part of nature, co-creation with nature is likely to become a crucial point.

For those who are not involved in the natural sciences on a regular basis, words like “biotechnology,” “virus,” or “radiation,” might sound unfamiliar and belonging to “the experts’ field”. However, life science technology has long since reached a stage where the general public can put it into practice.For example, reading the human genome cost 300 billion yen 30 years ago, but it now costs less than 100,000 yen. Radiation and viruses are no longer subjects of study to be tackled only by specialists, but something that we citizens can face on an individual basis and incorporate into our respective activities.

Much of what surrounds us is invisible. The purpose of SPCS is to explore gateways to a non-anthropocentric design practice by actively working with invisible organisms and natural phenomena through prototyping with the tools of science.

Inspiration 1|
Pier 35 EcoPark, a project by The Living, a New York-based design firm organized by David Benjamin that focuses on the architectural application of biological systems and building materials. By utilizing the properties of purple mussels, the project contributed to the visualization of water quality and the research and regeneration of riparian ecosystems.


Inspiration 2|
Katsunobu Yoshida, whose design work incorporates positive error into his production methods. He is engaged in “Foraged Colors,” a project that involves collecting, designing, and ultra-special printing. He aims to create printing inks from collected materials and install them in modern printing machines. (At this stage, the project has reached the letterpress stage). Furthermore, Yoshida collaborated with a welfare office to produce a booklet (1,000 copies) with hand-drawn cover. The key to future creations will be how to favorably interpret the uncontrollable conditions of industrial technology, such as how to enjoy shoveling snow in areas with heavy snowfalls.

  • With a different instructor and theme each season, students will explore the relationship between nature and humans, as well as non-anthropocentric design approaches through prototyping.
  • The duration of each season will be of 1~3 months, and the session frequency will vary depending on the theme.
  • As a place to practice design with nature, we will always deal with themes related to natural science.
  • Those interested in exploring human relationships with nature and the environment in creative ways.
  • Architects and makers who are designing the relationship between nature and humans.
  • Designers and creators who want to gain new inspiration from natural phenomena and develop new methods of expression.
  • Planning and R&D professionals in companies working on circular design.
  • Those who are interested in biology and biological design, and want to learn how to research and gather scientific information.

Activity

Outline

Name

SPCS explores designs and forms of expression that collaborate with nature by actively confronting its uncontrollable factors through prototyping. Each season, we will invite a variety of lecturers to co-develop programs that mix natural sciences, design, art, engineering, culture, and other disciplines.

Mission

SPCS | Species A community exploring biological design

Follow us

Members

  • Nami Urano

    Loftwork Inc. / FabCafe Kyoto Marketing Div.

    After graduating from university, Nami began her work at the creative company, Loftwork, where she was in charge of planning and managing business events and community management. At this time, her focus was on encouraging industry and university collaboration, specifically between Japanese companies and international universities. In 2018, Nami moved to Loftwork in Kyoto where she is in charge of PR, marketing, and recruitment. In 2020, Nami was involved in the launch and management of FabCafe Kyoto’s project-in-residency program, COUNTER POINT. From 2022, Nami launched SPCS (“Species”), a community that explores the uncontrollability of nature. Nami is interested in creating chaos in place, taking inspiration from her personal experiences of living in Folkehøjskole, Denmark, experiencing a kibbutz in Israel, and the fermentation club activities she co-hosted with chef Momoyo Morimoto.

    After graduating from university, Nami began her work at the creative company, Loftwork, where she was in charge of planning and managing business events and community management. At this time, her focus was on encouraging industry and university collaboration, specifically between Japanese companies and international universities. In 2018, Nami moved to Loftwork in Kyoto where she is in charge of PR, marketing, and recruitment. In 2020, Nami was involved in the launch and management of FabCafe Kyoto’s project-in-residency program, COUNTER POINT. From 2022, Nami launched SPCS (“Species”), a community that explores the uncontrollability of nature. Nami is interested in creating chaos in place, taking inspiration from her personal experiences of living in Folkehøjskole, Denmark, experiencing a kibbutz in Israel, and the fermentation club activities she co-hosted with chef Momoyo Morimoto.

  • Sarah Ho

    FabCafe Kyoto

    Sarah graduated from the National University of Singapore with a BA in Communications and New Media. After which, she spent 3 years in Tinkertanker Pte Ltd, an edu-tech makerspace developing and implementing programs and kits for STEAM education in Singapore. In 2022, she graduated from Bunka Fashion Graduate School, where her research centered around zero-waste apparel production.

    Bringing her enthusiasm for both education and connecting people, Sarah joined the Kyoto team in 2022 to expand the SPCS team and deepen engagement with the surrounding universities. She is particularly interested in zero-waste systems, tinkering and new mediums for cross-cultural exchange.

    Sarah graduated from the National University of Singapore with a BA in Communications and New Media. After which, she spent 3 years in Tinkertanker Pte Ltd, an edu-tech makerspace developing and implementing programs and kits for STEAM education in Singapore. In 2022, she graduated from Bunka Fashion Graduate School, where her research centered around zero-waste apparel production.

    Bringing her enthusiasm for both education and connecting people, Sarah joined the Kyoto team in 2022 to expand the SPCS team and deepen engagement with the surrounding universities. She is particularly interested in zero-waste systems, tinkering and new mediums for cross-cultural exchange.

  • Georg Tremmel

    Artist at BCL, Founder & Director at BioClub Tokyo

    Georg Tremmel is an Austrian artist, living and working in Tokyo. He studied Biology, Informatics and Media Art in Vienna and London. Since 2001 he is working on biological, cultural, ethical and societal codes, creating objects, installations and situations for contestable discussions through the Aristic Research Framework BCL. Georg is currently a PhD Student and Project Researcher at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, working on ‘Ludic Cultures, Biologial Interfaces and Non-Human Agencies. He is also a Visiting Researcher at the metaPhorest Art & Science group at Hideo Iwasaki’s Lab at Waseda University and a Guest Lecuterer at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts. Georg is a co-founder and director of the BioClub Tokyo, Japan’s first Open Biolab & Biohackerspace.

    Georg Tremmel is an Austrian artist, living and working in Tokyo. He studied Biology, Informatics and Media Art in Vienna and London. Since 2001 he is working on biological, cultural, ethical and societal codes, creating objects, installations and situations for contestable discussions through the Aristic Research Framework BCL. Georg is currently a PhD Student and Project Researcher at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, working on ‘Ludic Cultures, Biologial Interfaces and Non-Human Agencies. He is also a Visiting Researcher at the metaPhorest Art & Science group at Hideo Iwasaki’s Lab at Waseda University and a Guest Lecuterer at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts. Georg is a co-founder and director of the BioClub Tokyo, Japan’s first Open Biolab & Biohackerspace.

  • Satoshi Washida

    Ueyakato Landscape

    Craftsman of Ueyakato Landscape, established in 1848. He is in charge of the Shoseien Garden at Higashi Honganji Temple. He is a craftsman who was attracted by the charm of Japanese gardens as works of art that transcend reason, and is involved in the creation of gardens. With a backbone in contemporary art, which he has studied extensively, he is dedicated to the daily care of Japanese gardens with the goal of creating a closer connection between Japanese gardens and art. Among landscape paintings, he especially enjoys the works of Edward Hopper.

    Craftsman of Ueyakato Landscape, established in 1848. He is in charge of the Shoseien Garden at Higashi Honganji Temple. He is a craftsman who was attracted by the charm of Japanese gardens as works of art that transcend reason, and is involved in the creation of gardens. With a backbone in contemporary art, which he has studied extensively, he is dedicated to the daily care of Japanese gardens with the goal of creating a closer connection between Japanese gardens and art. Among landscape paintings, he especially enjoys the works of Edward Hopper.

  • Yosuke Ota

    Ueyakato Landscape

    Craftsman of Ueya Kato Landscape, established in 1848. He is in charge of the Shoseien Garden of Higashi Honganji Temple. While working to protect the biodiversity of Shoseien, he also engages in research and development of projects to improve the forests of Higashiyama, an essential part of Kyoto’s scenic beauty. He is attached to all living things, and is involved in Shoseien with an emphasis on viewing the garden from the perspective of living creatures. He has a principle of “tasting everything in the natural world”.

    Craftsman of Ueya Kato Landscape, established in 1848. He is in charge of the Shoseien Garden of Higashi Honganji Temple. While working to protect the biodiversity of Shoseien, he also engages in research and development of projects to improve the forests of Higashiyama, an essential part of Kyoto’s scenic beauty. He is attached to all living things, and is involved in Shoseien with an emphasis on viewing the garden from the perspective of living creatures. He has a principle of “tasting everything in the natural world”.

  • BARNA Gergely Péter

    Circular Design Engineer/Creator

    Father of 4, Gergely Péter BARNA was born in Hungary. After graduating from a high school specialising in arts, he has worked in the ateliers of various European artists and designers. He moved to Kyoto, Japan in 2010 to study Architecture and Design at the Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT), where he got his doctoral degree in 2018. Parallel to studying, he worked as a plasterer and later as a carpenter at preservation sites of National Treasures, such as Kiyomizu-dera, and Shimogamo-jinja, to learn traditional Japanese crafts skills. After graduating from KIT, he focused on the integration of traditional crafts, sustainability, circular society and innovation. Since 2019 he is working at the KYOTO Design Lab of KIT as a Project Researcher. After working together on various sustainability projects since 2019, he founded Fungicha with Thomas Oritz in 2022 to bring living organisms (especially mushrooms), innovation and arts together in a form, that can be easily shared and communicated to people. He is also one of the founders of Circular Kyoto, a volunteer organization for environmental and social activities.

    Father of 4, Gergely Péter BARNA was born in Hungary. After graduating from a high school specialising in arts, he has worked in the ateliers of various European artists and designers. He moved to Kyoto, Japan in 2010 to study Architecture and Design at the Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT), where he got his doctoral degree in 2018. Parallel to studying, he worked as a plasterer and later as a carpenter at preservation sites of National Treasures, such as Kiyomizu-dera, and Shimogamo-jinja, to learn traditional Japanese crafts skills. After graduating from KIT, he focused on the integration of traditional crafts, sustainability, circular society and innovation. Since 2019 he is working at the KYOTO Design Lab of KIT as a Project Researcher. After working together on various sustainability projects since 2019, he founded Fungicha with Thomas Oritz in 2022 to bring living organisms (especially mushrooms), innovation and arts together in a form, that can be easily shared and communicated to people. He is also one of the founders of Circular Kyoto, a volunteer organization for environmental and social activities.

  • Thomas Ortiz

    Independent engineer

    Thomas Ortiz is a French-Spanish independent engineer and researcher whose work gravitates around the fields of energy, biology and decentralized technologies. In 2015, he co-founded the collaborative research program Paleo-Energy in France, aiming to collect and revive forgotten inventions that still have great potential to help with environmental and energy issues. He co-authored the book Retrofutur, published in French, English and in Japanese with Kawade Shoo Shinsha.
    Based in Kyoto since 2019, he is conducting extensive research about innovative growing techniques for mushrooms and spends a lot of time in the wild documenting and collecting species.
    In 2022, he co-founded Fungicha with Gergely Péter Barna. They aim to share about the power of mushrooms with the audience, through nature, art and technology.

    Thomas Ortiz is a French-Spanish independent engineer and researcher whose work gravitates around the fields of energy, biology and decentralized technologies. In 2015, he co-founded the collaborative research program Paleo-Energy in France, aiming to collect and revive forgotten inventions that still have great potential to help with environmental and energy issues. He co-authored the book Retrofutur, published in French, English and in Japanese with Kawade Shoo Shinsha.
    Based in Kyoto since 2019, he is conducting extensive research about innovative growing techniques for mushrooms and spends a lot of time in the wild documenting and collecting species.
    In 2022, he co-founded Fungicha with Gergely Péter Barna. They aim to share about the power of mushrooms with the audience, through nature, art and technology.

  • Julia Moser

    Textile & Fashion designer / Founder of Growing Patterns Living Pigments

    Julia Moser sees her mission in re-thinking fashion and textile design practices and production processes towards a more sustainable and healthier future. Following the fact that nature knows how to produce colours without chemicals and harmful ingredients, she founded “Growing Patterns Living Pigments” and started to co-create with pigment producing bacteria – dyeing textiles and involving them in the design process as well. With a focus on material innovation and bio design, she uses new technologies to find alternative ways of thinking design and design processes. Always remembering the indigenous tribe of the Kogi saying “You’re meant to work with technology, but if you do so, use technology that works with and not against nature”.

    Moser holds two Master degrees in textile.art.design and Fashion&Technology from the University of Art and Design Linz where she currently works as a University Assistant at the Crafting Futures Lab. There she works on her PhD and guides students to find their core values for their design practice, creating a connection to materials and building a bridge between art and science, traditional and new technologies and regaining a connection to nature to create a future for the generations coming after us.

    Julia Moser sees her mission in re-thinking fashion and textile design practices and production processes towards a more sustainable and healthier future. Following the fact that nature knows how to produce colours without chemicals and harmful ingredients, she founded “Growing Patterns Living Pigments” and started to co-create with pigment producing bacteria – dyeing textiles and involving them in the design process as well. With a focus on material innovation and bio design, she uses new technologies to find alternative ways of thinking design and design processes. Always remembering the indigenous tribe of the Kogi saying “You’re meant to work with technology, but if you do so, use technology that works with and not against nature”.

    Moser holds two Master degrees in textile.art.design and Fashion&Technology from the University of Art and Design Linz where she currently works as a University Assistant at the Crafting Futures Lab. There she works on her PhD and guides students to find their core values for their design practice, creating a connection to materials and building a bridge between art and science, traditional and new technologies and regaining a connection to nature to create a future for the generations coming after us.

  • Yoshida Katsunobu

    Graphic Designer

    Collector, designer and printer. Based in Yamagata Prefecture, Yoshida works through fieldwork and prototyping. Recent and ongoing works include ‘Foraged Colors’, a project aiming to create colors from materials collected from the sea and mountains and implement them in contemporary society and specialised printing. His hobbies include collecting and identifying mushrooms.

    WEB : https://www.ysdktnb.com/about

    Foraged Colors : https://foragedcolors.com/

    Portrait photography by Ryohei Sawaki

    Collector, designer and printer. Based in Yamagata Prefecture, Yoshida works through fieldwork and prototyping. Recent and ongoing works include ‘Foraged Colors’, a project aiming to create colors from materials collected from the sea and mountains and implement them in contemporary society and specialised printing. His hobbies include collecting and identifying mushrooms.

    WEB : https://www.ysdktnb.com/about

    Foraged Colors : https://foragedcolors.com/

    Portrait photography by Ryohei Sawaki

  • Michiko Haga

    Art mediator

    Born in Okayama Prefecture in 1985, Haga received her master’s degree in Human and Environmental Studies from Kyoto University in 2011. Her work “Love in ‘Two Kohei'” was selected as an honorable mention in the 16th Art Critique Competition of “Bijutsu Techo”. Major projects and coordination include “THE BOX OF MEMORY-Yukio Fujimoto” (kumagusuku, 2015), “Osamu Kunifu ‘Underwater Engine’ Re-production Project” (2017-), Kaoru Kan solo exhibition “Light and Sea” (Choseiin, Gallery PARC, 2019) . Part-time researcher at Kyoto City University of Arts, Art Resource Research Center. Lecturer at the Jodo Composite Writing School.

    Born in Okayama Prefecture in 1985, Haga received her master’s degree in Human and Environmental Studies from Kyoto University in 2011. Her work “Love in ‘Two Kohei'” was selected as an honorable mention in the 16th Art Critique Competition of “Bijutsu Techo”. Major projects and coordination include “THE BOX OF MEMORY-Yukio Fujimoto” (kumagusuku, 2015), “Osamu Kunifu ‘Underwater Engine’ Re-production Project” (2017-), Kaoru Kan solo exhibition “Light and Sea” (Choseiin, Gallery PARC, 2019) . Part-time researcher at Kyoto City University of Arts, Art Resource Research Center. Lecturer at the Jodo Composite Writing School.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about FabCafe or any of the Open Labs activities, please feel free to contact us.

Contact

Get in touch

Subscribe to FabCafe Global monthly newsletter for more stories in innovation and design.