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Rasa Weber

Rasa Weber

PhD Kandidatin

Symbiocean (WT) A sympoietic design approach to the Ocean.

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Karmen Franinović, ZHdK and Prof. Dr. Karin Harrasser, Cultural Studies, University of Art and Design Linz.
Associated with: "Matters of Activity", Cluster of Excellence, Humboldt University Berlin.
Collaborators: Jordan Lab, Max-Planck Institute of Animal Behavior.

The practice-based research project «Symbiocean» (WT) explores the concept of growing material systems as marine Zoöps (more-than-human habitats, Zoé= life, Greek) for architecture and design in multispecies marine environments via scuba-diving.

At the intersection of marine biology, anthropology and design, the research explores practice-based and theoretical research on sympoietic design processes with human, animal and microbial actors with/in the ocean. Inspired by the process of oceanic mineral accretion (developed in the 1970s by Wolf Hilbertz and Thomas Goreau as «Biorock») the project researches on developing a new approach to critical ecological practices within the environment of the seascape (limestone, marine neophytes, biofouling and bioreceptivity). By methods of underwater attunement, co-speculation and marine fieldwork, the project observes Interspecies Architecture as a new model for fostering the cultivation of designing materials as a sensitive, multispecies habitats.

Rasa Weber is a designer, research (and scuba-diver) with a focus on bio-based materials and interdisciplinary research. Her design concepts are driven by a strong narrative approach and critical ecological thinking. She regularly teaches at international universities and is currently a research associate at ZHdK and pre-doctoral researcher at "Matters of Activity", Cluster of Excellence. She works across the disciplines of material research, architecture, product design, and film. In her practice-based PhD, she investigates new material processes of built habitats within more-than-human marine environments, as a way to both practice and question architecture today.

She is one of the founders of 'They Feed Off Buildings', a design and architecture collective from Berlin, in collaboration with Luisa Rubisch. As head of design & founder of Studio Blond & Bieber she works on bio-based material- and color concept together with textile designer Essi Glomb.

She brings sustainable material development from the closed system of the laboratory to the open system of the ocean via interdisciplinary field methods (collaboration with Max-Planck Institute of Animal Behavior). By researching applications and production processes of post-fossil material production, from strategies of mining to future methods of growing matter, her work challenges the concept of active matter on an ecological and architectural level.

Selected Publications

Weber, R. , Wegner, A. (2022) Getting Attuned to the Ocean. Immersive field methods between marine biology and design research. SDN Winter Research Summit: Counterparts: Exploring Design Beyond the Human.

Weber, R. Designing (in/with) the Ocean. (2022) Sustainability Science Dialogues. Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland.

Weber, R. Symbio Design - Toward sympoietic materials research in the ocean. (2022) Design X Nachhaltigkeit - DGTF Jahrestagung, Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design, Kiel.

Weber, R. Growing Matter. (2021) Symposium: Material Negotiations: Practices of Biodesign, Collaborations, Making With & Transience. Matters of Activity. Berlin. Virtual.

Rubisch, L., Weber, R. Transformative Matter - Materials Research for our Sustainable Future? (2020) Design TO Opening Lecture. Harbourfront Center Toronto, Canada.

Selected Awards

2020 Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis (Nomination). Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis.

2019 AD Design Award - Best Concept (Nomination). Design Award. »Urban Terrazzo.« AD Magazin

2019 German Design Award - Newcomer (Nomination). Design Award. »Urban Terrazzo.« Rat für Formgebung.

2018 Bundespreis Ecodesign. Design Award. »Urban Terrazzo.« Deutsches Bundesumweltministerium / Umweltbundesamt.

2016 German Design Award - Newcomer (Nomination). Design Award. »Algaemy.« Rat für Formgebung.

2014 Bundespreis Ecodesign. Design Award. »Algaemy.« Deutsches Bundesumweltministerium / Umweltbundesamt.