(Re)Joining Nature - Constructing the Architectural Symbiocene
Michael Polisano is an industrial designer at PLP Architecture. His experience spans product design, consumer electronics, furniture, lighting and mobility.
Since joining PLP in 2020, he has led the growth of the ID department with a focus on creating innovative products for buildings and people. Michael works closely with PLP Labs – the company’s R&D arm – to push the boundaries of conventional design, most recently pioneering the company’s groundbreaking research into the use of mycelium as a construction material.
A firm believer in the power of technology as a catalyst for sustainable design, Michael is often drafted into projects to develop unique architectural solutions. He has worked on the incorporation of AI technology into bespoke ceiling systems and has also developed an outdoor furniture collection for Yandex’s headquarters in Moscow which is to be 3D printed out of recycled plastics.
Prior to PLP, Michael lived in New York, where he worked for Pentagram and Karim Rashid. Michael holds a BFA in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and is a visiting critic and lecturer at Parsons School of Design and UCL.
(Re)Joining Nature – Constructing the Architectural Symbiocene
(with Abhinav Chaudhary and Jenya Andersson)
The Symbiocene was described by environmental philosopher Glen Albrecht as opposed to the Anthropocene, when our species begins to renew a symbiotic relationship with natural systems, psychologically and technologically.
Over the last two decades, there has been an inching towards these ideas in the fields of architecture and design and as we progress deeper into a fossil-fuel-free future, it is exciting to explore how natural materials and biological processes can be (re)integrated into the architecture and construction industry.
PLP Architecture and PLP Labs, the research group embedded within the practice, have been attempting to shift focus towards this through a series of explorations at various scales, ranging from skyscrapers, to interior installations, to consumer product design. The presented projects will explore the use of timber, mycelium composites and other plant- based materials within the context of design and architecture. These projects examine the evolving relationship between natural materials, habitable spaces and how they can be brought closer together through the constantly developing techniques of hi-tech design and fabrication.