Parley x Biofabricate: The Material Revolution

A material revolution is in motion.



What if we could grow materials rather than manufacture them? What if packaging nourished the earth rather than polluted it? What if fashion evolved with the seasons, rather than surrendered to transient trends? These are the questions Suzanne Lee endeavors to answer as a designer and pioneer of Biofabrication, and as the founder of a summit dedicated to supporting and advancing its growth.

Biofabrication, once a medical term, is a new design paradigm centered on cultivating materials with living cells. Through the Biofabricate summit, Lee is growing a global community merging design with biology, technology and engineering, harnessing living organisms and systems to grow biodegradable alternatives to harmful materials in consumer products.  Sharing this vision for a new material world, Parley and Biofabricate are partnering to call upon the world’s leading designers, scientists, material innovators, and brands to participate in a Material Revolution and create the future of materials. 


The everyday materials that shape reality should work in harmony with our life-giving ecosystem and especially its largest regulating force, the oceans. At present, society is addicted to a material that does the opposite.

Plastic is a design flaw stemming from and perpetuated by a failure of imagination. It pollutes every corner of the planet, enters the oceans and kills sea life at a pace and scale beyond comprehension. Our future depends on what we do now to end and reverse the trend of destruction.

To the end the problem long-term, it’s not enough to avoid and intercept plastic waste, or even to keep faulty materials within a closed-loop economic cycle. The Parley AIR Strategy is based on the belief that we must reinvent current materials, methods and systems. And we can succeed in this mission by looking to the world’s best designer: nature.




 Parley x Biofabricate speakers included:

Cyrill Gutsch (keynote), Founder, Parley for the Oceans: Ridding the world of plastic starting with the oceans;

Suzanne Lee (host), Founder, Biofabricate and creative director, Modern Meadow: Biofabrication, past, present, future;

Molly Morse, CEO of Mango Materials: Bacterial biopolymers from methane as plastic alternatives;

Larry Weiss, Chief Medical Officer, A O Biome: The microbiome & designing for health;

Andras Forgacs, CEO, Modern Meadow: Strategies to raise capital and grow a consumer biotech company;

Miroslava Duma, CEO & Founder, Future Tech Lab:  Sustainable innovation in the fashion industry;

Ginger Kreig-Dosier, CEO, BioMASON: Biological building materials & a new product launch;

Dan Widmair, CEO Bolt Threads; Harnessing proteins found in nature (e.g. spider silk) to create innovative materials;

Eden Bayer, CEO, Ecovative Design: Mycelium materials & mushroom textiles;

Lindy Fishburne, Executive Director, Breakout Labs: Reshaping the way early-stage biotech is funded;

Veronika Kapsali, Professor, London College of Fashion, and author: Biomimicry for Designers;

Gabor Forgacs, CSO, Modern Meadow; Pioneering the field of biofabrication;

Maurizio Montali, Founder, Officina Corpuscoli: zero-waste mycelium products and space materials;

Scott Bolton, Principal Investigator on NASA's Juno Mission, Chief Science Officer of Parley Deep Space Agency; the last frontiers; 

Captain Paul Watson, Founder, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: the biosphere and Spaceship Earth; 

Liz Ciokajlo, Co-Founder, OurOwnsKIN: Growing shoes & products for space travel;

Natsai Chieza, Founder & Creative Director, Faber Futures: Bacterial pigments & collaboration as the future of design;

Karl Schmieder, Co-Founder and President, MessagingLAB: What's your bio strategy?;

Richard Beckett, Co-Founder, Arch-T & SynDeBio: Bio-receptive architecture & the indoor microbiome;

Amy Congdon, Senior Materials Designer, Modern Meadow: ZOA bioleather materials & MoMA exhibit;

Jennifer Armen, Director of BD& Marketing, OSF Inc.: Breeding nonbrowning Arctic® apple varieties;

Dan Grushkin, Director, Biodesign Challenge: Encouraging biofabrication's next generation of designers;

Christina Agapakis, Creative Director, Gingko Bioworks: Organism design, cultured ingredients & collaboration;

David Belt, Co-Founder and CEO, New Lab: New Lab as New York's home for innovation;

Liv Bargman & Nina Cutler, BDC winners, Central Saint Martins: Their 2017 winning Biodesign Challenge Project 'Quantworm';

Ellen Jorgensen, Founder, Biotech Without Borders: The temporal aspect of the micro biome in cities.


Exhibitors and innovations included: BOLT spider silk; Mango Materials, plastic alternatives and textiles made using microbes; Modern Meadow, introducing ZOA, the Biofabricated leather; Natsai Chieza, textiles dyed by bacterial pigments & screen prints produced in the petri dish; Officina Corpuscoli, Mycelium based materials for product design; OurOwnsKIN & Officina Corpuscoli, mycelium based materials for product design and space exploration; Biot LAB, a range of architectural prototypes that encourage growth; Living Ink, sustainable ink grown using algae; Ecovative, sustainable textiles grown from mycelium; Jessica Gregory, calcium carbonate 3D printed scaffold for coral repopulation; 10X Beta, footprintless sneaker capturing CO2 emissions; Omenetto Lab, innovative new materials made from nature's ancient material: silk; Parley Ocean Plastic, created from upcycled plastic waste intercepted from marine environment and coastal communities.


"The next super trend is coming, and it will be survival. There is no place for a design flaw in a closed-loop economy.
We can’t just neutralize plastics by recycling. We have to get rid of the problem material by reinventing it. 
Ocean Plastic® allowed us to turn trash into gold, to give purpose to waste and create a climate of change – but the ultimate solution is to end and replace fossil fuel-based plastics and other pollutants by creating and scaling materials that work in harmony with living systems. Biofabricators are the pioneers." 
Cyrill Gutsch, Founder, Parley



"All of the companies here (at Biofabricate) who are developing new materials themselves need to learn, how do you put the whole package together? I think the intersection of Parley's mission with this new technology emerging is incredibly powerful."
Suzanne Lee, Founder, Biofabricate


About Biofabricate:

Biofabricate is the world's first summit dedicated to growing the industrial and consumer products of the future from living organisms like bacteria, yeast, fungi, algae and mammalian cells. The annual summit was founded in 2014 by Modern Meadow Chief Creative Officer Suzanne Lee to provide a platform and home that helps ensure world-changing innovations from "grown materials" do not remain hidden to the global community.

Learn more


SEE THE MOVEMENT || @parleyxxx