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Inspired by natural materials and informed by manufacturing technologies of today, these experiments are important part of my design work.

OVERLOOKED

Prototyping ways to integrate design into other disciplines— a year-long collaborative project resulting in gallery installation and programming.

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Would you kill a valuable and useful asset that you discovered in your garden or lawn? What about the plants that you pass on a walk? Have you ever noticed the lichen or moss? We consider them beautiful in nature, but what if they appeared on your roof? Some time ago, grass—an artificial lawn—was branded as beautiful and the only way to show that you care about your neighborhood. When will people realize that “weeds,” such as dandelions and plantains, are beautiful and are an asset to the neighborhood?
How do we set a trend that would make people realize that their lawn is a natural treasure trove?
Biomimicry is the human adaptation of nature’s problem-solving abilities. Velcro, inspired by burdock seedpods, and honeycomb structures are the most familiar examples of biomimicry. This installation invites viewers to look at biomimicry in reverse. What would happen if nature could borrow ideas from humans? What if nature could adopt human methods of promotion to make us care for its well-being? Watch a short video about this project here.

OVERLOOKED explores scientific narratives using the tools of design and branding. Participatory, visual, humorous, sculptural, weird, and multisensory, the work on display creates a surreal scenario in which nature borrows human ideas, activities, and environments. Nature’s interconnected cycles meet fashion, luxury, symbolism, iconography, mythology, and play in this exhibition.

 


BAMBOO WEAVING IN TAIWAN AND BALTIMORE

 

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Bamboo which is not native to US, was introduced as ornamental plant that became highly invasive, and a nuisance to control. With no wildlife that uses it for food, new uses for this material can be found. In 2010 I was lucky to participate in Bamboo workshop conducted as part of the Design Summit in Taipei, Taiwan. I leaned amazing techniques, methods and tool to us on this highly useful plant.
Back in Baltimore, together with my students, we collect this material, experiment with it and learning as much as we can about using this ancient material for future scenarios. Read more on this project here.

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FLEXIBLE MOLD CERAMIC

Slip casting ceramic can be a straightforward process. First, a ‘master’ — shape must be fabricated to form a molding of from the original. From the ‘master’ a plaster mold is made which is used to pour liquid ceramic slip into. Being a porous material, plaster absorbs water from the slip creating a hollow form. When plaster mold is open, a ceramic shape is removed, dried and fired in kiln. I spend several month experimenting with pouring liquid slip directly into molds made from found paper pulp objects — egg crate-type packing materials, packing foams, and corrugated cardboard. In my experiments the master and the mold became the same — all fired in the kiln to make one of a kind object. Please see more process images and experiments here.


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THE BREAD ZOO

In Test Kitchen for Change, TKFC, I use bread-making as a platform for engaging communities. Based on Slow Design principles, TKFC includes live instructions-performances and educational materials.
In the past few months, TKFC staged events in churches, galleries, communal gardens, corporate offices, private homes, markets and the juvenile detention facility. At these events, public is invited to make bread and learn how someone can engage in slow processes while living fast and busy lives.The Bread Zoo is a collection of containers and tools collected, borrowed, and made in order to educate people about bread, yeast, malt, and wild foods. Visit the TKFC site. Core77award student notable project. Visit core77 award site.




DIGITAL FABRICATION

First object I printed on 3D printer was a functional replica of inconspicuous toilet paper holder. Check out more DFAB projects here.


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Functional toilet paper holder in corn-based PLA



CORNING GLASS LAB

When I was invited to submit a design proposal to be produced in front of the visitors at public glass-blowing event, I thought about visual effects of the fire on stage. Traditionally mold for glass-blowing is made of metal or sometimes plaster and wood. More here

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DESIGNING WITH SCENARIOS

The technique “Designing with Scenarios” allows visualization of situations and behaviors and is widely-used tool for designers.

Rather than focusing on the potential design intervention or a “solution”, scenario shows people as actors. That approach affords the view of the larger situation and leads to better design interventions. John Thackara’s book In the Bubble: Designing in the Complex World talks about sustainable systems rather than just green materials. Thackara talks about using scenarios where designers start the design process by envisioning situations and focus on human behaviors rather than artifacts. He also said that designers should “design people in and not out” of the design process. Read more about designing with scenarios here.


 



FILL IT FURNITURE

Fill it system is made by the consumers from their own refuse. It comes as a “skin” similar to the inflatables, but filled with mixed plastics instead of air. It consists of small “receptacles” that could be placed next to the trash can. Filled with small plastic stuff that otherwise would end up on a landfill, those units create a honeycomb structure that helps to keep the shape when units are assembled into furniture modules.Truly Yours [true re use] Honorable mention Designboom Rethink & Reuse competition. Read more about this project here or visit the project site.


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SUN BAKED PETE (soda bottles) EXPERIMENTS

Started as a project to help a small community in Sossego, rural Brazil, where a non-profit organization enlisted designers, social workers, and organic farmers to help the indigenous people establish a sustainable community. Creating saleable crafts and designs from materials that are available to them, while cleaning the environment, is an important way to generate income and raise self-esteem for most women of the community. More about this project. here


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