Material Crush x Science Live

Materials can be a passion and a source of inspiration for their look, feel and smell. Nevertheless, we must be careful not to use them just for the sake of using them. The only thing greater than our passion for materials is our love for the planet.

During the this year’s SCIENCE LIVE, we will introduce you to established materials including our favourite sustainable alternatives from the material library at the Faculty of Design and Art. We believe that materials are a great starting point for more sustainable design.

With the support of Artificial Intelligence, we will explore how to transform local byproducts into future application ideas. Curious how this works? We’ll include a live design session (Fri 19–20h) where you can see how the physical meets the digital!

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Faculty of Design and Art
Universitätsplatz 1 / piazza Università, 1
(first floor)

What happens when material research enters the digital domain with the help of AI Image Generation?”

Could AI support us in the creation of future concepts and discovering new applications for (regional) byproducts?”

Can AI be a tool in exploring and simulating growing materials and bio-based design for future of regenerated materials?


This research (funded by iNEST – Interconnected Nord-Est Innovation Ecosystem) focuses on theoretical, practical and experimental investigations of secondary raw materials from local industries. Particularly, experimenting with growing materials through fungal mycelium and using Artificial Intelligence to speculate on hypothetical future grown materials concepts.


A Prompt is a short text phrase that the Midjourney Bot interprets to produce an image. The Midjourney Bot breaks down the words and phrases in a prompt into smaller pieces, called tokens, that can be compared to its training data and then used to generate an image. A well-crafted prompt can help make unique and exciting images.


The following images have been created using Advanced Prompts including one or more image URLs, multiple text phrases, and one or more parameters.



AI Image Generation driven by regional material resources is the starting point for the design of future scenarios and product applications. A next step would be the development of physical prototypes that function as conversation pieces providing new ideas and insights on how a new relationship with materials and making can help us to (re)think, create and contribute to more sustainable futures.

In short, we are exploring the design potential of what happens when the material goes digital (and back).


Material Crush is a an exhibition organised by Eva Bauer (material library), Nicholas Rapagnani (research fellow) and Aart van Bezooijen (supervisor) supported by the material scouts (Maiella di Donato, Laïsa Cordes, Sven Kammerer).

Keep in touch @material_crush

Eva Bauer
Head of the material library at the Faculty of Design and Art. Over many years, supported hundreds of young designers and artists in finding (material) solutions in getting their ideas turned into tangible products and prototypes. She is part of a skilled team of workshop technicians that supports students in getting things done.

Nicholas Rapagnani
Eco-Social Designer focusing on footwear design, (bio) materials research, and Artificial Intelligence concepts generation. He currently is a Research Fellow at the Free University of Bolzano, doing physical, digital and AI-based research on future sustainable materials from local industries byproducts.

Aart van Bezooijen
Dutch industrial designer with a collection of the most remarkable materials from around the world. He explores how a new relationship with materials and making can help us to (re)think, create and contribute to more sustainable futures. His approach is hands-on, experimental, collaborative and interdisciplinary.

Credits: AI generated images by Nicholas Rapagnani x Midjourney