DIY-Materials approach to design meaningful materials for the sustainability transition

Valentina Rognoli, S. Parisi, Barbara Pollini, Martina Taranto, Camilo Ayala-Garcia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

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The critical environmental conditions of the planet compel humankind to rapidly devise solutions able to minimize the impact of human actions on Earth. Environmental issues are urgent, so researchers and practitioners in the design field are committed to formalising new visions and pathways, willing to meet the SDGs of the 2030 agenda. While formulating less affecting processes of making/manufacturing, a conscious practice of design recognises materials and their 38 management as a critical point for sustainable production. The material, formerly considered a step of the design process, now becomes the the focus of the project; unfortunately, there is a lack of dedicated studies and initiatives to implement material awareness in design education. To envision an effective ecological transition, material design turns into an inescapable step when designing for sustainability. It’s fundamental for design schools to invest in material education by establishing dedicated courses that boost this realm of knowledge, material understanding, and to improve the making skills of new generations of designers. This chapter focuses on the results of the DIY-Material approach used in the last few years at the Design School of Politecnico di Milano. The developed approach allows to teach students transversally how to design materials starting from a source, going through ingredients, compositions, recipes, and processes, creating material demonstrators, and defining the identity of the new material and its narratives. Here, a series of bio-based, bio fabricated material examples will be illustrated to describe the development of material pathways pointing towards an ecological transition through a DIY-Materials approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation for Sustainability approaching SDG 4 and target 4.7
EditorsAna Elena Builes Vélez, Natalia Builes Escobar
Place of PublicationMedellin, Colombia
PublisherUniversidad Pontificia Bolivariana
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic) 978-628-500-077-5
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • DIY-Materials
  • bio-based
  • bio fabricated
  • material education
  • material design


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