Anhalt University of Applied Science
Manuel Lukas joined the University of Innsbruck and the Anhalt University/Materiability Research Group in October 2020 as a doctoral student and is supervised by Prof. Claudia Pasquero and Prof. Dr. M. Kretzer. After an apprenticeship as an architectural draftsman and a bachelor’s degree in jazz and pop music, he commenced his studies in communication design at Mainz University of Applied Sciences. Throughout this period, the focus was on promoting communication by incorporating additional disciplines such as technology and human interaction into the design for prototype development. With the subsequent masters course at Anhalt University, the design approach has shifted towards adding living materials in the form of algae to the previous concept in order to expand the prototyping of products.
We are just beginning to realise the potential of manufacturing products with living organisms. Algae might be one of these secret weapons to combat the climate challenges we face. They grow many times faster than land plants, and a fraction of the area is needed to produce a corresponding amount of biomass for further fabrication. In addition, they grow on unproductive and non-agricultural land, so they do not compete with other crops. More specifically, they can be used to grow all kinds of structures, from foams that can replace plastics in shoes, to yarn and ink without chemicals, to bioplastics.
The research is intended to create the space for interdisciplinary cooperation, in which the creativity stimulated by scientific research is to be deepened and expanded for developing visions and case studies on environmentally friendly technologies. Through various experiments together with the knowledge of biologists, new ways of designing and producing objects with growing materials will be demonstrated. It can therefore also be seen as an opportunity to combine the design principles of value generation, growth and sustainability.