Professor Carole Collet

Profile image of CSM-LVMH Director of Sustainable Innovation, Director of the Design & Living Systems Lab, Professor in Design For Sustainable Futures

CSM-LVMH Director of Sustainable Innovation, Director of the Design & Living Systems Lab, Professor in Design For Sustainable Futures

Central Saint Martins

Biography

Carole Collet is Professor in Design for Sustainable Futures at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London where she has been appointed CSM-LVMH Director of Sustainable Innovation in 2017. In this role, Collet set up Maison/0, an incubator of sustainable intelligence designed to provoke creative practices and challenge our collective futures. Collet is also Director of the Design & Living Systems Lab, a research lab that explores the interface of biological sciences and design to propose new sustainable models of biofabrication.

Carole Collet has dedicated her career to developing a new sustainable vision for design, and founded the Masters of Textile Futures at Central Saint Martins in 2000.  Her research focuses on exploring the intersection of biology and design to explore innovative and disruptive sustainable design propositions. She curated the first international exhibition that explores biodesign via the lens of sustainability in 2013 (Alive, New Design Frontiers).

Her curatorial approach questions the emerging role of the designer when working with living materials and technologies such as synthetic biology, and establishes an original framework for designing with the living. Her design research project Biolace has been exhibited around the world in 26 international showcase including the Universal Expo in 2015 and has been widely cited in book publications and catalogues. One of Collet’s characteristics is that she takes on different research roles, from designer, to curator and educator. This enables her to develop an informed critique of both the design outputs and the design contexts, from making knowledge to framing knowledge.

Carole's work has been featured in international exhibitions and she regularly contributes to conferences on the subject of textile futures, biodesign, biomimicry, synthetic biology, future manufacturing and bio-materiality, sustainable design, design for the bioeconomy and climate change.

Research interests

Sustainability, future design, disruptive technologies, design-science collaborations, biomimicry, biology, botany, synthetic biology, biomaterials, biofacture, living systems, future scoping, textile futures, resilience, planetary boundaries, climate change, 2050.

Research statement

My design research interests are driven at the core by a search for innovative sustainable materials and forms of production for the future. Via the Design & Living Systems Lab at Central Saint Martins UAL, I explore the interface of biological sciences and design to challenge established craft and manufacturing paradigms and propose news approaches to biofabricate materials and products.

Having established a framework for designing with living systems, I explore three main design strategies through my work: nature as a model (biomimicry principles), nature as a co-worker (horticulture and permaculture principles), nature as a reprogrammable system (bioengineering and synthetic biology principles).

I am particularly interested in using fabrication tools and techniques that allow my work to navigate the hand-made, the man-made and what I call the ‘grow-made’. I appropriate a wide range of diverse techniques, from photography to textiles, horticulture, biology and speculative design to generate design artefacts and future scenarios. I also write and curate as a means to reflect on the emerging, yet fast growing biodesign discipline.

Students

Current students and thesis titles

Elena Brebenel, Can biomimicry help design furnishings for the domestic environment that improve air quality?

Amy Congdon, Tissue Engineered Textiles; ‘Can the integration of textile craft with tissue-engineering techniques lead to the development of a new materiality for future design applications?’

Miriam Ribul, Material Activism: The role of design research in the scientific development of regenerated textiles in a circular economy.

Completed students and thesis titles

Aurelie Mosse, Gossamer Timescapes: Designing Self-­actuated Textiles for the Home. A PhD jointly supervised by CITA, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Denmark and the Textile Futures Research Centre at UAL.

Jane Scott, Programmable Knitting.

Selected research outputs