Design Switzerland is initiated by Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council.

Manon Briod: the design potential of synthetic biology

Manon Briod, Experiment Diary

Manon Briod’s project «Growing Stones» has been supported by our latest Call for Projects.

Next Call for Projects is now open – More information here

«Growing Stones» is an ongoing research project focused on the exploration of a technique, bacterial biomineralization, paving the way to new manufacturing processes.

Recent advances in synthetic biology offer unexpected development opportunities in the field of design. Some microorganisms have the ability, under certain conditions, to «produce» limestone, and thus to act as cement in a substrate. This discovery raised Manon Briod‘s interest: as this process can be reproduced in a laboratory, is there a way we can guide the bacteria’s growth and thereby control the geometry of the stone?
Working with living organisms challenged the designer’s work due to their  unpredictability, new temporality and imperatives. It has changed the way Manon Briod approached the production of objects: creating with life raises unusual questions for a designer, from a formal to an ethical point of view. With «Growing Stones», Manon Briod explores unknown tracks, imagines new processes and places microorganisms at the heart of the future products production.


Manon Briod is a product designer, based in Lausanne. After graduating from Ecal and working there as a teacher assistant for the bachelor program, she joined the EPFL Robotic Lab as a product designer. This immersion in the scientific world allowed her to connect more her design practice with ongoing innovative research. She is particularly interested in the biology labs material. In 2018, Manon Briod completed a Master at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Basel.

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