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Mealworm-Designed Stool: Biocollaborative Design

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British designer William Eliot has pushed the boundaries of custom furniture design with his innovative Digested Objects stool, which was shaped by plastic-eating mealworms. This unconventional collaboration showcases the potential of biocollaborative design, where insects play a significant role in the creative process.

Eliot’s stool, initially conceived as a digital design, was brought to life through a unique process involving waste polystyrene and mealworms. These larvae have the remarkable ability to digest polystyrene, making them valuable partners in Eliot’s exploration of biocollaborative design.

To guide the mealworms’ activity, Eliot injected the polystyrene with sugar trails, encouraging them to chew away specific areas. However, he allowed the mealworms the freedom to burrow in any direction they desired, giving them agency in the design process.

The resulting stool, 3D-printed in black-coloured sand, features a complex and organic form, showcasing the intricate tunnels and pits created by the mealworms. This collaboration highlights the potential for innovative approaches to furniture design that blend digital technology with natural processes.

Eliot’s work reflects a broader trend in custom furniture design towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. By embracing biocollaborative design, designers can create pieces that not only push the boundaries of creativity but also promote a deeper connection with the natural world.

The Digested Objects stool represents a shift towards more ethical and sustainable design practices, where designers work in harmony with nature rather than exploiting its resources. As designers continue to explore new materials and processes, the possibilities for custom furniture design are endless.

Eliot’s innovative approach serves as an inspiring example of how designers can collaborate with the natural world to create truly unique and environmentally friendly furniture pieces. His work challenges traditional notions of design and opens up new avenues for exploration in the field of custom furniture design.

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