1. Symbi
  2. Bioleather
  3. BioFlora
  4. Mimicking
  5. Fuss
  6. Wined
  7. Terraria Ornamentia



Weronika Turowska
© 2023 blunikdesign
Tactile Ball

SYMBI is a calming tactile ball made from grown bacterial cellulose and aquafaba/algae bioleather. Anthropocentric concern with human health has made us question the world we have shaped through design. Symbi questions our material culture, but also how we live with chronic pain - how tactility can help with conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia when a user constantly feels pain - through touch and a soft, calming, tactile feeling.

The necessity of finding alternatives to currently available PVC and PU-based non-biodegradable vegan leathers has led to exploring the potential of utilising commonly perceived as waste bacterial cellulose film from kombucha drink and waste aquafaba. The inside of the ball is stuffed with kapok, which comes from the fibres of a kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra).

Our material culture is almost entirely dependent on oil and coal as a key raw materials.
Most of our everyday objects contain chemicals derived from fossil fuels.
Many of us carry traces of human-made compounds.

Symbi is an invitation to look at alternative methods of creating ecological culture through ourselves.

Asking questions such as:

Can we feel calm while constantly feeling pain?

How touch makes us feel? How different those sensations could be for a person that is chronically ill?

How do we look at our material culture through new material ecology? How do we perceive materials?

How to navigate complex relationships with enviroment by understanding symbiotic connections?

How to see microorganisms as allies for practices of co-designing?

Natural colouring was achieved from charcoal and hibiscus plant.

Symbi refers to symbiosis, which can be understood as "a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups", but also as "interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both". That idea and further research were aligned with those principles - to benefit the user, to benefit the planet and to benefit future generations. All in all, the design was based on regenerative design principles - to not just sustain the planet, but restore it.

Our bodies are host to vast populations of microorganisms. Based on the knowledge that we are the microbes we try to fight, the design challenges the perception of how we can collaborate with microorganisms to design a softer, more symbiotic world. Just as the calming ball can biodegrade, so is the hope that the chronic pain will find its cure too.