Design As Catalyst

Anya Muangkote

I have a multidisciplinary approach to design, uniting the fields of architecture, music, and product. ​For me, design is present in every creative practice, in different mediums and scales—from the spaces that we dwell in to the tactile entities that we utilise in a daily routine. My project outcomes have included object, experimentation, system, film, fiction, and tool.

I was a finalist in the Innovative Craft Award 2018, organised by the Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand, working on a collaborative project with a textile designer (RCA alumna). My projects were exhibited at design events such as London Design Festival 2019, Milan Design Week 2019, and Bangkok Design Week 2018. A group project that explores prospective solutions to global problems was one of the four winners of The RCA’s Grand Challenge in collaboration with CERN

Contact

anya.muangkote@network.rca.ac.uk

anyamuangkote@gmail.com

spirulinasociety@gmail.com

Website

Spirulina Society (Ongoing Project)

Linkedin

Instagram

Degree Details

School of Design

Recently, I have been focusing on designing for circularity with the endeavour to make sustainability appealing. My interests lie in the field of algaculture, future food, biomaterials, accessible design, distributed systems, public participation, and renewable energy. At the moment, I am exploring the idea of pushing my graduation project further beyond the academic realm—I wish to find out if it could exist in the real-world context.

I aspire to design for radical change; to create a positive social and environmental impact, as I stand for equity and strongly believe in societal and ecological justice. I am passionate about utilising my design to raise public discussion on social norms, status quo, and (un)desirable futures; either implicitly or explicitly.

Since I imagine ‘design’ as a tool for change; politically, economically, and environmentally—I hope my work could empower people to challenge current modes of production and consumption—​as perception and behavioural shifts are desperately needed in times of crisis.

Spirulina Society - Trailer + Project Explained

Cultivation System - Living Room/Bedroom #1

Cultivation System - Living Room/Bedroom #2

Cultivation System - Living Room/Bedroom #3

Spirulina Daily Cycle

Lids & Containers Variation

Lids & Containers Variation

Spirulina Dish

Cultivation Tools

Cultivation System - Living Room/Bedroom #4

Threaded Lids

Cultivation System - Kitchen

Cultivation System - Living Room/Bedroom #5

We live in times of climate crisis where our ecosystems are endangered. With food production causing extensive greenhouse gases, deforestation and water shortage. As a collective and individuals, what if we rethink the way we produce and consume our food?

Spirulina, a blue-green alga, is the most ideal food for humankind, according to the UN and WHO. It is rich with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants—it is a plant-based source of complete protein. Spirulina can easily and affordably be grown indoors and only requires a small amount of water and space. By performing photosynthesis, under the optimal condition, the culture can be harvested daily with its ability to grow at speed. Growing Spirulina at home yields several benefits such as reducing carbon emissions and waste, saving money and resources, and improving wellbeing.

Spirulina Society is a project that aims to normalise the sustainable and efficient cultivation system for an urban lifestyle—where people produce their own food, maintain their wellbeing, cut down the waste and reduce the ecological footprint simultaneously.

Spirulina Society provides open-source tools and knowledge for domestic Spirulina cultivation. The 3D models of the cultivation tools are available for people to download digitally and connect physically with their local makerspaces and manufacturers around the globe. This project promotes local and on-demand production by shifting away from the mass-production model and using the distributed model where it focuses on the movement of data and the use of local material supply chains.

The 3D printed collection consists of lids and harvesting funnel that can be fitted with locally and readily available containers. The various sizes of the lids function as a growth accelerator; providing a light source, preventing contamination while allowing air ventilation, and connecting hoses for agitation and harvest. The harvesting funnel enables the process of straining the culture which can then be consumed instantly after forming into a thick paste.

Overall, this project proposes tools as products where the lids act as decorative/ambient lighting and the appearance of the harvesting funnel resembles everyday objects for users to feel familiar, rather than alienated, with this novel ritual.

In addition, eating nutritious food, in this pandemic era, is vital given what is currently happening with the lack of food in supermarkets. Domestic Spirulina cultivation could enhance better physical and mental health because it can tackle malnutrition, increase productivity and boost the immune system which means more antibodies are present.

Medium:

Polylactic Acid (PLA) Filaments

Size:

Various
3D printing
Climate crisis
Design for social impact
Empowerment
environment
Future of Food
Health
open source
Spirulina
Sustainability
Urban Diet
Wellbeing

BioGoods - Wallets

BioGoods - Collection

Biomaterial - Overall #1

Biomaterial - Overall #2

A Clutch Bag #1

A Clutch Bag #2

A Clutch Bag #3

A Clutch Bag #4

Biomaterial #1

Biomaterial #2

Biomaterial #3

Biomaterial #4

BioGoods is a collection of environmentally responsible products. The biomaterial is composed of 100% biodegradable organic matters, completely harmless for the environment. The ingredients were obtained from red algae and other plant sources which are both globally abundant and renewable.

This project looks at how biomaterial works in a makerspace context in which it proposes small-scale fabrication techniques where the processes omit toxic, unsustainable materials and adhesives. Creating products with new materials and techniques challenges conventional production models and their technological infrastructure.

‘Designing for Circularity’—transforming conventional materials into products requires sewing and it is difficult to separate any adhesive or other additional materials when discarded. Whereas this biomaterial can be pressed by heated surfaces to join the sheets together with no additional matters required, meaning this process meets the main criteria for a circular economy principles, as opposed to traditional materials. Apart from being compostable, the biomaterial is also recyclable; by simply melting it into a new sheet—this supports a closed-loop product life cycle system.

Medium:

Biomaterials (Agar Agar, Glycerol, Sugar, Salt, Water, Natural Dyes)

Size:

Various

BioFab 1.0 - Project Explained

Tools Overall

Tools Made from Metal Scraps

BioFab 1.0 Station

Biomaterial Creation

BioFab 1.0 Tool #1

BioFab 1.0 Tool #2

Wallets #1

Wallets #2

Wallets #3

Wallets #4

Wallets #5

Today, more and more designers are interested in creating naturally biodegradable materials from organic matters. Such as agar-based biomaterial, which consists of agar powder, glycerol and water. The material can be made by using only kitchen utensils. By adjusting the ratio of the ingredients, and natural additive substances; these edible samples can be created with various textures, colours, opacity, and flexibility. This material has high potential for several applications. However, a lack of appropriate tools made for biomaterials makes it difficult for prototype development.

BioFab 1.0 is a compact and portable working space designed for biomaterial prototyping, from creation to fabrication. It is composed of fundamental tools and utensils which serve different functions for each stage of making. I imagine BioFab 1.0 as an enabler and facilitator to empower the maker culture community; especially designers, to prototype with new sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.

The various surfaces of metal serve the purpose of thermal conduction. When attached to soldering iron, they join sheets together. The biomaterial can be bonded together with heat. It doesn’t require high wattage because its melting point is lower than synthetic materials like plastic or PVC sheet. The shape of the metal can also be customised and personalised based on the design of each project.

Another tool that works in combination with cheap and readily available heating appliances like a hob is used for joining bigger surface area. You can also layer sheets or offcuts, put other materials between them, and then peel it off later for recycling and composting.

For me, the idea of turning leather-like sheets into a product explores the possibility of it being an alternative to the traditional leather. The process of leather tanning is highly toxic, transforming the leather into a product requires sewing and it’s hard to separate any adhesive or other additional materials when discarded. Meaning my process meets the main criteria for a circular economy principles, unlike traditional leather.

Coming from different backgrounds, I think we have the power to find a wide range of applications for the material. With the right kind of tools, I believe that we can work together, collaboratively and collectively, towards the sustainable and symbiotic future of manufacturing.

Medium:

Metal, Biomaterials (Agar Agar, Glycerol, Sugar, Salt, Water, Natural Dyes)

Size:

Various

3-minute Film — The year is 2035, an early adopter of the first urinal prototype casually starts her day by feeding and harvesting Spirulina in her bedroom. While she makes her way to the museum where she is the VIP guest for ‘International Year of Self-Sustenance’ ceremony, she reminisces about the past revolving around the origin of her very own urinal vessel.

Film Preview #1

Film Preview #1

Film Preview #2

Film Preview #2

Film Preview #3

Film Preview #3

Film Preview #4

Film Preview #4

Timeline 2020-2050

Spirulina Cycle

Urinal Vessel #1

Urinal Vessel #2

Urinal Vessel #3

Urinal Vessel Prototypes #1

Urinal Vessel Prototypes #2

With the current rate of global temperature increase caused by humankind, there is an urgency for change in order to put a halt to the unsettling environment.

Meat production is one of the major drivers of global environmental change. We will need to double the world's food production by 2050 according to the current population growth rate. As stated by the United Nations, and the World Health Organisation, Spirulina is the most nutritious food on the planet—it is a plant-based source of complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids just like meat. It can easily be grown using widely available equipment and only requires a small amount of water and space. Additionally, Spirulina can be fed by urine which makes the cultivation even more cost-effective and globally accessible.

International Year of Self-Sustenance 2035 is a speculative project that explores the use of spirulina and human urine in a possible post-carbon future.

The year is 2035. The United Nations has declared it the International Year of Self-Sustenance (IYSS) dedicated to the Spirurinal movement—a group of people who domestically cultivate Spirulina and use their own urine as its essential nutrients. This method of cultivation is celebrated as the most resourceful, circular, and sustainable form of urban agriculture to date.

The Spirurinal movement has adopted the vessel used to collect urine as a functional symbol and statement of intent to address the climate emergency. The first prototype of the urinal vessel made an appearance in 2020 to enhance public awareness of the importance of striving for ecological justice, to promote innovative and accessible solutions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and empower individuals to act immediately to halt biodiversity loss. After gaining popularity in the mid-2020s, the impact of the Spirulina system has brought about major changes in urban food and waste systems, as well as the perception of urine as fertiliser to the masses.

Medium:

Glass, Polylactic Acid (PLA) Filaments

Size:

Various

BioScreen #1

BioScreen #2

BioScreen #2

BioScreen #3

BioScreen #4

BioScreen Cycle

Biomaterial Prototype #1

Biomaterial Prototype #2

Biomaterial Prototype #3

Biomaterial Prototype #4

Biomaterial Prototype #5

BioScreen is a home product that is both good for people and planet for the future of sustainable living. The integration between lamp and partition for space dividing simultaneously transforms and illuminates the area in which it is placed. With the circular economy principles, design for biodegradability; recyclability; produce more locally and without toxicity. A two-ingredient bioplastic sheet made out of agar and glycerol is 100% biodegradable and edible. Agar is a substance obtained from red algae, glycerol derived from plant sources; they are locally and globally abundant and renewable. By combining natural substances like salt and activated charcoal within the bioplastic sheet, BioScreen could potentially help improve health and wellbeing of the user.

Medium:

Metal, Biomaterials (Agar Agar, Glycerol, Sugar, Salt, Water, Natural Dyes)

Size:

167cm x 50cm x 20cm
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