Category Archives: Projects


Objective: To make//find an aesthetically pleasing, translucent material – both hard, “glass-like” and flexible – latex-like in its properties. Can be used decoratively, like lacquered onto sculpture or poured into moulds as a potential resin replacement, or used as sheets for projection – projecting on or projecting through. Again, the filter of the filter. Also experimenting with colour – natural versus unnatural, stained glass hues. Most importantly, the bio-material must be durable, strong and inexpensive.


materialfinal10Some of my initial tests above ended up cracking – very brittle (like my life, haha jokes). So I decided to crush them into rock-like fragments that I thought could live life as interesting crystal fragments or re-constituted as another material. The flat colourless sheets were super wrinkled but were quite durable and translucent.


With the help of the Green Plastics book, I decided to attempt to make bio-glass and bio-latex. Let’s just say that the first was a failure in the sense that I never made anything hard enough to be constituted as glass. The main issue is that it is so hot and humid and it takes so long for the plastic to dry that it begins to mould, so I have to throw it away before it gets to the final stages. However, with these experiments there was little shrinking and with the flat sheets, no cracking at all. In fact, I managed to create a series of different sheets of bio-latex like material that could be used interestingly in a variety of artistic applications.


My first “bio-glass” recipe that created, in fact, flexible thin plastic:


Pure Gelatin

  • 4 tsp gelatine (Knox)
  • 1 cup of 1% glycerin solution (that means 1% glycerin to 99% water)
  • 3 drops of blue food colouring

For this recipe i mixed all the ingredients thoroughly before turning on the heat and cooking the plastic on the stove until simmering, then poured (like liquid) into containers or spread on foil. After 3 hours, it was jelly like and hardening.


I also baked a quarter of the same batch with no food coloring at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes. After 3 hours there was little to no change except a slight jellification (is that an actual word).



  • 1 tsp potato starch
  • 1 tsp gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cup 1% glycerin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 drops red food colouring

I cooked this again on the stove (it turned pink). After 3 hours there was absolutely no reaction… still completely liquid-like.

So I decided to add more potato starch.


  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • 4 tbspoon water
  • 1/2 tsp glycerin
  • 1 tsp gelatin
  • 1/2 cup 1% glycerol solution
  • 2 drops red food colouring

After 3 hours, it was jelly-like, moist, translucent and rather pliable. Definitely turned out more like my initial experiments than the liquid batches above.

I decided to try one more batch that was a bit more creative though. I read online that the inside translucent film of egg shells have been used – their extracted protein at least – to make bioplastic. Obviously I didn’t have the resources to do that so I decided to just try… dumping in little bits of film from the inside of an egg.


  • 2 tbspoon potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp glycerin
  • 1 tsp gelatin
  • 1/2 cup 1% glycerol solution
  • Film bits from an egg
  • Mica powder


I added salt because in the Green Plastics book it said if you worked purely with starch the salt would help (somehow… I stopped paying attention when the scientific explanations started getting diagram-y). I added mica powder towards the end after simmering the solution on the stove because I thought – why not? I use a lot of mica powder to make a pearl-like finish on my polymer clay and I thought this would give the material an interesting sheen as well. Which it did.


As you can see, after about four days the thin bits of film were totally dry but a lot of my plastic was still very moist. This led to mould appearing instantly around the fourth day and I had to keep picking it off (blargh). So bio-glass remains a future option to experiment with, possibly with a faster drying option like an alcohol bath or maybe even experimenting with tapioca starch/arrowroot/coffee as Karen was doing – as some of her experiments were pretty dry in a few hours.


I managed to make actual fully transparent bits of pliable, flexible plastic, which is incredible. Also latex-like material of different colours. Adding green and blue food colouring together made a black piece of plastic which is super interesting.


The most interesting pieces of plastic was the one I could peel perfectly from the aluminum foil (don’t use baking wrap unless you have some kind of release) and it imprinted words onto the plastic – so definite potential resin/imprinting abilities. And also the mica-powder experiment I did last because of the shimmer the mica powder gave it.


Overall, I can say my experiments were definitely successful to an extent and I have every expectation and intention of incorporating bioplastic fully into my artistic practice in the future as a bio-material to support my projection and video work and as an artistic medium of its own right. I will perfect my technique – towards the bio-future, as our computer overlords might say.

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Mycelia Side Table – 2014 – Bellec & Fussner

Bellec & Fussner

“Mycelia Side Table, Iteration N° 01 + 01”, 2014

Mycelia grown bio-composite, galvanized steel.

Dimension: 18x 27 3/4 x 15 1/4 in. (? cm.)

Produced for Material Spectrum Lab, New York. Number one from the edition of 3. Table top grown grown in New York city, made from a pine-chip & sawdust bio-composite. Underside of table with leather tag laser with artist’s signatures and ““Variation N˚ 01  + 01, 2014/05/16/Collection Mycelia Side Tables/Edition Material Spectrum Lab, limitèe à 03 exemplaires.” Comprising of one table, the original prototype.


Paul Stamets talk about how mushrooms can save the world inspired us to explore the properties of this bio-material. Prior to this talk we had also developed a slight ambient awareness towards the potential of mycelia as innovative bio material that has the potential to impact our planet. Without this awareness I do not think we would have fully committed ourselves to learning and discovering more about mycelia and its amazing properties. The inquiry into this medium has been extremely fun as we are  considering to keep using the medium through the summer to see what sort of furniture we can grow. There are only a handful of people around the world actually using this material to grow furniture, one of the Phil Ross (coincidentally my brother’s professor at USF) is flagship artist. Any sort of aesthetically pleasing design that also performs structural integrity would be able to warrant a decent amount of attention from customer or potential media.


Brief: Grow a planar surface out of mycelia that will act as a table top surface.  We then combined the mycelia with a found material, in this case we looked towards piping to create a foundation structure. Scroll over pictures to see action caption.







The biggest take away so far from our experimentations with mycelia as a medium is that it is undeniably an a resilient bio-material, a living structure. Conceptually if you think about growing structure, it’s quite mind blowing and a huge departure from current materials that are used to build, construct and complete things.

We have just finished growing the table, it has been baked and we will be posting another status update in the coming days. We are now growing another batch of mycelia culture to create several more side table forms and potentially other types of furniture.

The use of material in a larger context is subject to many potential roadblocks, at this point in time very little people are using this material. This is good for us (Ambroise & myself) if we want to release some work since we will be considered “innovators” in the field, however for a future with a more diverse array of building materials there need to be more people working with the material. That will be the difference between mycelia, hemp, bast fibers, and other bio materials.

Proprietary strains is an extremely short sighted measure, if the businesses and people that are committed to creating a more diverse material spectrum in our world then this knowledge should be opensource. At the end of the day, a hobbyist more often than not won’t setup a competing packaging company and try to undercut you.




Bio Sculpture Foundation – A Dialogue With Tuber Plants

For my 3D print I though to expand on material interaction and basic system cycles. I am interested in expressing cycles in work, I am not sure why, I use to work in business and although cycles exist in this space most of them are single throughput cycles. There is no regeneration of materials, post use scenarios are not considered. Since post use scenarios are not factored into many designs we live in we have to deal with the consequences of post-use design scenarios, also known as externalities, a nice way to box all  problems that are not of direct consequence to our actions into a single word. Although inherently this piece is not even a pure representation of the idea, it does convey the idea of a post-design scenario, where the work keeps existing and interacting with it surroundings.

Much like a plastic bottle we throw away interacts with a multitude of different systems, my thoughts on a plastic bottle:

“Something that comes to mind is that many of us forget that a piece of waste, in this case a bottle or a can continues to design even after it’s intended use. What I mean by this is that the bottle passes through various systems after it’s initial use, man-made systems like garbage disposal and non-human systems like the ocean. The bottle continues to impact and design the space around it. For example a bottle might enter an ocean, the bottle might perform a number of different actions in the ocean such as floating, sticking with other agents, interacting with living creatures or even breaking down and manifesting itself beyond a singular existence of just being a bottle. Sometimes bottles change form back into something more of a polymer structure break itself down to hundreds of millions of little bits and starts to design on a micro level. Can you imagine a coca-cola bottle designing on the micro level?! Not many things have the ability to change form and operate on different scales but plastic bottles do. The bottle starts interacting at the base of the chain and ecosystem. However it’s design impact is plentiful and efficient harnessing ocean currents these polymers are able to spread and diffuse where ever the power of the ocean takes them. In many cases these polymers diffuse within the ocean food chain. However we don’t know what that will mean for us humans who may not see the effects of bio magnification till our children are born. We do reside at the very top of the foodchain despite our inclination towards other top predators. Since we are at the top of the food chain the magnification of the polymers/petrochemicals in a diet that consist of more seafood could be disastrous. I think understanding the implications of a bottle’s journey and its ability to continue designing and impacting spaces even after it has finished it’s initial task that we designed it for could be a story that may change a persons perspective after they’ve seen the systemic impact of just one bottle, let alone hundreds of millions of plastic bottles.”

Bioplastic Cutlery

Fascinating Material

After watching the presentation in class, I was very interested in the idea of home-made bioplastics, and the possibilities for household use. I began watching several videos regarding corn starch-based and milk-based homemade bioplastics recipes. At the same time, I was considering what I might make.

What Purpose?

I began searching around for what sort of things could be made of this material, but i kept coming across items like jewelry or utilitarian items like storage crates, blended-material bags, and other things i didn’t find particularly useful to me. So, then I thought, I should create something I need. And suddenly I had my idea.

Need To Eat

I’m moving soon, and my roommates have already moved out, taking nearly everything with them. I have one pot, a cookie sheet, a wooden spoon, and absolutely no cutlery. So, instead of going out and spending a bunch of money I don’t have on a new set of cutlery, I’ve decided. to create my own, designed how i want.

61 light-my-fire-spork-group


It didn’t take long to find a good amount of video instructions on how to mix various bioplastic recipes. After looking around, I found this one pretty easily. I think it has also been linked here in another post.

How to Make Corn Starch Bioplastic

I chose this method because I had tried the milk-based method and, well, it didn’t go well. Actually, it caught fire and ruined a pot. I decided to not take pictures. Besides, it’s more complicated and not necessary for my project. So, for my next attempt, I’ll be trying the cornstarch method.

Fun with Bioplastics

My journey into the world of bioplastics has been a mad experience through an alien landscape. I went to the grocery store and I got me some cornstarch, thermometer, food colouring (ALL COLOURS BECAUSE I’M ~*PRIMARY*~), milk, vinegar… and went to the local pharmacy to get me some glycerin.

Here are some websites I was looking at: Instructables & Make Your Own Bioplastics by Greenplasticsnet

I still haven’t had time to do casein (milk) bioplastic yet so I decided to stick to corn for now. I’m really interested in chitin, algae, tapioca, potato, gelatine, sunflower seed, soya bean proteins, yam, banana skin, etc or more or even combining different polymers with fibres like flax and hemp. Bioplastics Party, anyone…?

bioplastic3do you take sugar with your bioplastic

bioplastic2I am an art student and my food colouring is very artistic 


bioplastic16my science lab

Experiment 1: using the Instructables base ingredients and recipe.

  1. 1/2 cup cornstarch
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 1 tsp canola oil
  4. 3 drops of blue food colouring

Experiment 2: using Instructables base ingredients and recipe but adding MORE water to make more pliable.

  1. 1/2 cup cornstarch
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1 teaspoon canola oil
  4. 3 drops yellow food colouring


+ HEART: I had some extra left of experiment 2 after I poured the mixture into the aluminium foil cupcake moulds so I decided to add a drop of blue food colouring to a single heart-shaped mould and let it mix by itself with the yellow mixture.

Then I reached a plateau because I was like, wait.. I don’t have a microwave. I considered this for a bit and then decided to just bake my mixture for an undetermined amount of time. It was 1:09 PM. I baked the mixture (all of the above together) until 1:25, a total of 16 minutes. Then I took it out and let it cool down.

bioplastic11 bioplastic13 bioplastic10This is what I do in my spare time. Much art very wow

Experiment 3: Using Greenplasticsnet’s recipe and ingredients

bioplastic5Random unrelated thought: is cheese a bioplastic?

  1. 1 tbsp cornstarch
  2. 4 tbsp water
  3. 1 tsp glycerin
  4. 2 drops of yellow food colouring

bioplastic6Please don’t ask me why

This recipe asked for the mixture to be heated on the stove. However, it did not specify what temperature, how long, when I should start the heat so I mixed all of the ingredients before turning on the heat and continuing to stir until it looked kind of kneadable and jelly-like. I tried with no food colouring and then a second batch WITH food colouring (red and yellow). I guess the second batch turned out slightly more malleable and clay-like probably because I still had remnants of the first batch at the bottom of the pot (…because I was lazy…)

bioplastic7Guess the Biofruit

bioplastic8I tried


  • Oven-baked cornstarch bioplastic is a lot more gelatin/jelly-like than the stove-cooked bioplastic. The latter is a lot more malleable like hot, soft clay when fresh.
  • Both CRACK and shrivel (shrink) when dried. This is problematic… I need to figure out how best to tackle this problem. Would refrigerating help? What about pouring resin over it before it dries?
  • I’ve read that the pliability of the bioplastic depends not only on how much cornstarch/water you put in but also the amount of glycerin. If you put in a lot of glycerin, there is the likelihood that the plastic will never dry, which is interesting.
  • How to stop the bioplastic from biodegrading as much as possible even if it endures heat (for example, an LED light…?)
  • The corners of the oven-baked bioplastic are interesting; they’re translucent/transparent and very plastic like.
  • I’m not sure the canola oil helped with anything except to form these interesting oil spot textures on the surface of the oven-baked bioplastic.

bioplastic17Cheese platter?

And that’s the end of this episode of Fun with Bioplastics. Tune in next time for further kid’s serious lab experiments.

d house_midterm

D house is an architecture project designed and executed by FaR Architects, a super cool architecture studio I work with in Beirut.  It’s a 2000m2 residential house in located in ‘ain el kharroube’, Lebanon.


The abstract form of the building is neat and simple. It consists of 2 overlapping rectangular volumes connected to a third rectangular volume (the guest house) by a complex steel and glass structure.

The 3D printed model is an abstract miniature model of this house that serves a display to be hung on the wall in the office.

Here’s my process:Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 3.24.49 PMSince I didn’t want to import drawings from CAD and explore modeling in Maya, I made a precise sketch of the basic dimensions needed to model the 3 volumes. Pretty simple!

d house modelHowever, the steel structure connecting the two volumes was more of a challenge to model in Maya without using the original 2D drawings. I tried to do it with cylinders but it was a mess and not precise. IMG_8610

So… I went back to CAD to model the structure and added a base

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 5.25.12 PM

Notice in the design that the proportions of the volumes in relation to the steel structure is quite large which i predicted might be a problem in 3D printing. I had to scale down the model and therefore the steel structure became too thin for printing.

I also had some problems with surfaces of the the structure that needed to be closed.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 18.20.50

I decided to take out the structure and print the model without it; and try to figure out a way to build the structure with another material and attach it to the 3D printed model.

I modeled an approximate topography that holds the upper volume and puts the house in context. Here is the final screenshot of the model.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 3.45.38 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 19.15.35

Object24 model

IMG_1968 IMG_1969 IMG_1974 IMG_1975 IMG_1977

Here’s a link to all the files in dropbox


The Spaewife (Working Title)

As you all probably know by now, my model initially started off being much more complex: over 100,000 polygons, multiple complex forms that would have needed to be printed separately and put together, etc.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 14.51.23Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 14.53.19

What I am essentially trying to make is a seductive/enchanting OBJECT or vessel that can hold speakers or some sort of sound device within its semi-hollow form, with psychedelic projections on top of it (perhaps reacting to the sound). As a fine art student, I’m keen to make this 3D print a part of my artistic practice which utilises a lot of projection/film/sculptural work in order to create a personalised universe/mythology. So, essentially, an object that can help distort the space around it and re-fabricate a new reality.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 14.47.11

After realising that the original idea was too complex, I redid it in a simpler shape: the Chinese gourd, a plant/water holder/mythological object that I have been absolutely obsessed with since childhood. I made the original shape with Bezier Curves in NURBs, rotated it in 3D and then converted it to polygons. From there it was a relatively simple process of extruding faces/using the SculptGeometry tool and smoothing it (once).

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.47.39Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.59.55Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 16.18.11

The main problem started once I exported it as a .OBJ. I checked various sites like shapeways and and both were far too expensive for the size I wanted. Ideally, I want the object to be cast in transparent resin or at least some kind of translucent material, but the cost ranged into the thousands. The other problem was that some of the walls were way too thin on the tiny projections, which shapeways would attempt to help me “correct” but actually just made them look bulbous.

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 17.07.30Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 17.08.51

Temporarily abandoning the idea of outsourcing my model, I brought it into the Parsons print people. After converting the model to a .STL file with Rhino, they checked the mesh with ZPrint and discovered what looked like a lot of holes.

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 16.55.52

My model’s normals were also completely inverted when I viewed the model using the Makerware software so I just reversed all of those, which was easy…

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 13.14.59

The hard bit was trying to figure out where the “holes” were: they were actually horribly deformed polygons that I needed to fix but were really hard to see in Maya so I had to keep hunting for them and going into the model to see it from the inside. I think this is one of the main problems with working liberally with the SculptGeometry tool as you have little control over it and if you’re careless, it ends up extruding everywhere, creating little Siamese twins of your vertices.


Finally, after everything was approved, I went to pay and then to actually print my model in a Makerbot. The idea was to create a smaller model with the machine and then print a much bigger, hollow version using the Objet once I tested the model for glitches. However, I think everyone in our class was using the Makerbots or something and I knew there was no way I would have access before our next class. So I took a trip to our local Makerware store and shed out some premium dollars (cry goodbye forever my beautiful money) to get a model printed in white PLA, which would apparently take about 5 hours for about 4 and a half inches (25, 000 polygons).

3Dgourd3 3Dgourd1

 Then, when I finally got it printed and collected it, it had a billion supports. I advise all people to never try picking them off with your fingers because you’ll end up looking like you stabbed yourself accidentally with a needle. 50 times. Use pliers.

3Dgourd5 3Dgourd6


But in the end (3 hours later…) it looked pretty much exactly like my model. I’m not really sure how I feel about it because I think I might have sold my soul at the Makerbot store but probably from here I’m going to either try printing on the Objet or buying some translucent filament and printing it again at school. YAY!


Midterm Project

I have been researching and designing speculative wearable pieces for my Major Studio 2 class. At first I attempted to model one of these designs in Maya, but had a lot of problems so I ended up sculpting it in clay – my next steps with that piece is to make a silicone mold of the model. But for the midterm, I decided to switch gears and create a different piece that was inspired by the idea of coral prosthetics. This piece is based on the scenario of a future city that is mostly submerged underwater. The coral acts an extension of the body that allows the human wearer to integrate more closely with their new aquatic environment. I chose coral for several reasons. Firstly, coral is used right now as a bone prosthetic because of its properties that allow it to integrate with the human body with no problems. Secondly, coral is endangered. This is a crisis because coral reefs make up a huge part of the ecosystem in most parts of the ocean, acting as shelter and sources of food for many other marine animals and plants.


After I finished my 3D model to be print ready, I headed to the makerbots over on 13th st. I’m not sure if anyone else encountered this, but when I got there all the machines except 1 were broken. I had to print the week before spring break because I was leaving the country so I decided to give it a whirl and see if my model would print.  After sitting there for 2 hours, the makerbot stopped working and I had to abandon any hope of finishing it there.

IMG_1216 IMG_1215

My next stop was at the ARC to see if I could order the model to printed on the Objet printer. After a few tweaks here and there, the technician accepted my file and I would then have to wait a little over two weeks to finally pick up the completed model.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.02.14 AM Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.01.57 AM Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.02.04 AM Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.02.09 AM Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.02.18 AM

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 10.04.35 AM

Here is a pic of the makerware even though I didn’t end up printing on the Makerbot.

photo 2 photo 1And the final print (after I took the supports off- still trying to clean it totally). In the end it is still smaller than I would have liked, but the bigger it is the more expensive it is to print. Overall, I am happy with how it turned out and plan on printing more pieces that go with this one.

Drop box link:

The Spaewife II

My first model was way too complex with over 100,000 faces… smoothed one too many times, haha. And would also prove impossible to print with a million parts, so I decided to use the same sort of coral protrusions on a much simpler shape: the Chinese gourd, which has a lot of mythological connotations and is a shape/plant I am completely obsessed with.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 14.47.11 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.36.13 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.46.29 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.47.01 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.47.08 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.47.39 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.49.56 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.57.41 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.57.59 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.58.42 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.59.30 Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 16.59.55

Modeled using NURBS > Bezier Curves > Rotate.
Then converted to polygons > face extrusions + sculptGEOMETRY tool + smoothing.

I also experimented with different colours/transparency as my ultimate model would be hollow and emit a translucent glow… perhaps consider outsourcing using transparent resin.