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School of Form’s Eco-Friendly Project at Biodesign Challenge

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School of Form’s Eco-Friendly Project at Biodesign Challenge

A team of students form SWPS University’s School of Form developed biodegradable liquid soap that doubles as fertilizer and hydrates plants. The Soapilizer, as the first ever project form Poland, was submitted to the Biodesign Challenge, an international education and competition program. The goal of the program is to prepare young artists and designers to work with emerging biotech; to build collaborations between artists, designers, and biologists; and to engage the public with visions for the future applications of biotechnology.

Soapilizer - Eco-Friendly Design

The Soapilizer has been developed by a team of students from our School of Form, including: Aleksandra Kondela, Piotr Kasprzak, Hania Sienkiewicz, Oliwia Rybczyńska, and Jakub Olejnik. As the name of the product indicates, Soapilizer combines the functions of soap and fertilizer. The soapy water that remains after washing hands with Soapilizer can be used for watering plants as the soap, which has been developed using natural mineral ingredients, possesses fertilizing qualities.

Soapilizer was accepted to the 2021 edition of the Biodesign Challenge as the first ever project from Poland. It is an example of a circular economy product that could be used in farming.

The students worked under the supervision of School of Form’s lecturers, Paulina Grabowska and Karolina Sulich, as well as a biologist form the Copernicus Science Centre, Stanisław Łoboziak. The project was coordinated by Dr. Monika Rosińska from School of Form, while Dr. Danuta Solecka from the University of Warsaw and Dr. Piotr Borsuk, Vice-Dean of the University of Warsaw’s Department of Biology, and juror of the internal phase of the Biodesign Challenge, consulted on the project.

Biodesign Challenge

The Biodesign Challenge is an international initiative addressed to secondary school and university students. The program launched in 2015 in nine U.S. schools. Since then, participation has grown more than fivefold. Over the past five years, teams from 88 schools in 26 different countries have competed in the challenge. In 2021, thre were 53 submissions from 20 countries.

Thanks to the Biodeisgn Challenge, the students learned how to align design thinking with environmental practices. They developed several prototypes and experimented with various solutions and materials. Over the course of the semester, students had a chance to participate in lectures delivered by renowned scientists and designers, including: Joe Davis – an artist and researcher affiliated with the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School, Andreas Mershin – physicist at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, and Dr. Sukanya Punthambaker – biologist specializing in synthetic biology from Harvard Medical School.

Soapilizer

Soapilizer

School of Form – New Way of Thinking About Design

School of Form offers a unique approach to design by combining technical skills with communication, cultural studies, psychology and new technologies. The School teaches human-centered design that meets the needs of end users. Therefore, students begin each project with feasibility studies and needs assessment analyses and only then do they proceed to design, produce and deliver the desired product. Programs include Industrial Design in English as well as Communication, Domestic, Fashion and Industrial Design in Polish.

Biodesign is an emerging discipline at the intersection of biology, art, and design. Biodesigners work with living systems to make new products, respond to problems, and critique how biotechnology is used today and might be used in the future.

 

Monika Rosińska

Monika Rosińska, Ph.D., coordinator of the Soapilizer project – holds a doctoral degree in sociology. She is a proponent of an interdisciplinary approach to research on design meaning and design practice. Her book Przemyśleć użycie. Projektanci. Przedmioty. Życie społeczne (Rethinking Usage. Designers. Objects. Community life) was published in 2010. She has also developed a teaching program on “Design redefinitions – status, practices, and contexts.” In 2012, she was awarded a Jan Kulczyk scholarship provided by the UAM Foundation. Dr. Rosińska was one of the initiators of the “NIEwidzialny DIZAJN” (Invisible Design) conference, organized by School of Form. She also collaborates with the Association for Creative Initiatives “ę” on social innovation projects.

Paulina Grabowska

Paulina Grabowska – is an innovation designer, specializing in sustainable development. She is the owner of NAS-DRA Conscious Design, where she researches and designs circular economy systems, processes mitigating climate change, urban farms, and utilizing waste as a resource. She is a member of the Global Brain Trust established by Boma Global, a network of individuals and organizations that are designing, educating, and driving change. She is a licensed architect in the Netherlands and in Poland. Paulina graduated from the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment of Delft University of Technology and the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning of the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, Poland. At School of Form she teaches classes on biomaterials and the application of plants and microorganisms in eco-friendly technologies.

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