Material Matters: Design Lab

Attend a full-day design session with new biodegradable material FluidSolids®—win a fellowship to Zurich, Switzerland.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


June 14, 2014 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)

The goal of the Design Lab is to realize the potential of a game-changing renewable material, FluidSolids, developed in Switzerland. FluidSolids is made entirely of industrial by-products and is fully biodegradable yet offers flexibility in production and application, replacing the need for metal or plastic.

During San Francisco Design Week, we invite 10 industrial design students and young professionals to a one-day lab where they will be tasked with designing an inspiring object with this novel new material, to be produced in Switzerland.

In the evening, an esteemed jury selects the best ideas and awards a winner with a $3,000 travel grant and a fellowship at FluidSolids in Zurich to make his or her design a reality. The winner also receives a residency at the Zurich University of the Arts and a feature in the design and architecture magazine Architonic. The awards are followed by a panel discussion on the role of new materials in innovative design.


9:00 am     doors open; introduction to material and production techniques
10:00 am   generate ideas, define concept (lunch provided)
5:00 pm     presentation to the jury
6:30 pm     doors open to the public
7:00 pm     jury announcement & panel discussion
9:00 pm     doors close


Beat Karrer

Beat Karrer founded FluidSolids in 2012, and was nominated for the Swiss Design Prize for innovation in new materials in 2013. FluidSolids develops biobased materials and technologies and has has been outsourced as an independent company from his design firm Studio Beat Karrer. Since 1993 the Zurich-based designer and his team develop new products for renowned clientele including Boffi, DuPont Corian World, OFFECT Röthlisberger and toosB.
The studio Karrer has won several international prizes for his designs, which often are unusual in their approach yet very functional and practical in their daily application. He is also an active visiting teacher, participates in juries and leads workshops, for example for the Vitra Design Museum. Karrer’s ideas have appeared in many publications and various books.

 Lukas Scherrer

After graduating from the University of Art and Design Zurich, Lukas Scherrer moved to San Francisco. At IDEO, he demonstrated his creative capacity by designing complex medical devices for Medtronic, consumer electronics for Western Digital, LG, and Samsung, and furniture for Steelcase. He has won international design awards such as the IDSA/IDEA, IF, Spark, and Best of Neocon. In 2004, he co-founded mimijumi and in 2010 SHIBULERU Design.
Scherrer sits on the nominating committee of the Swiss Design Prize and on the Jury of the prestigious IDSA/IDEA awards. He teaches design at universities in Switzerland and is Co-Chair of the San Francisco Zürich Sister City Committee.

*This event is part of Cultivating our Future, a month-long program in June 2014 during which swissnex San Francisco investigates our relationship to plants and imagines a green and healthy future for cities and the planet. Events tackle the theme through the lenses of community, research, art, and design.

Related Events

June 14, 2014: Material Matters: Designers Talk
June 20-22, 2014: Dwell on Design
Month of June: Cultivating our Future 



Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos