Recipient of the Designers of the Future Award at Design Miami/Basel 2008, Julia Lohmann brings to the Faculty a highly imaginative approach to sustainable design. Her works explore the creative possibilities and materiality of natural and renewable sources and remind us of the processes that go unmentioned between the life of an animal or mineral and the point at which it is made into a design object. For her Stanley Picker Fellowship Lohmann will explore the luminosity, colour and structural strength of kelp as a natural alternative to man-made plastics and endangered woods. Considering also the adverse effects of collapsing fish stocks on fishing communities, Lohmann’s research will investigate the possibility of kelp farming as a viable alternative industry.
Taking samples of seaweed from around the world, including Iceland, Ireland and Japan, and exploring the distinct surfaces and textures created by each specimen, Lohmann has begun to discover some surprisingly innovative and alluring new design applications for this most abundant yet under-exploited natural material.