Noam Attias

PhD student

Assistant Professor Yasha Grobman ; Professor Ezri Tarazi (Faculty of Architecture and town planning at the Thechnion) ; Professor Ofer Danai (Northern R&D, MIGAL, Israel).

Noam Attias is a PhD candidate, fusing biotechnology and industrial design. She holds a B.Des in Inclusive Industrial design from the Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, graduated with honors. Her graduate project was presented at Ars Electronica exhibition, Linz, Austria 2013.
During her studies, Noam developed a growing interest in the fabrication processes of biological materials and its utilization possibilities. After a short period at WCDIB design studio, she decided to take a deep tour into the world of biology. She graduated with honors an M.Sc in biotechnology, focusing on protein engineering methods at Professor Oded Shoseyov’s lab, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, Rehovot, Israel. Noam joined as scientific coordinator to “life object” the Israeli pavilion at 2016 Venice biennale of architecture. She presented her research projects in both scientific and design conferences.
In her PhD research, Noam aims to fuse her experience in design and biotechnology by exploring novel uses of fungal mycelium as a structural material in architecture and design, using advanced interdisciplinary materials and methods. The research is done at three different labs with unique knowledge and expertise in the fields of Architecture, Industrial Design and Applied Mycology.

Bio fabricated Materials in Design: Utilizing Natural Bio mechanisms of Fungi to Develop Novel Mycelium Composites in Industrial Design

The constant increase in global waste and depletion of natural resources, along with recent trends engaging advanced bio-fabrication tools to designers and architects, has recently led to the development of novel bio-based materials. In this work, the potential of treating regional organic waste with fungi, to produce natural bio-composites as an alternative for synthetic materials currently used in design and architecture products is investigated.
The proposed research integrates biotechnological tools and methods with design research and development process, to modify materials for specific functions and uses, in a bottom-up approach. According to our literature review, current academic research in this field is very limited, and does not employ the full potential of harnessing biological mechanisms as novel design tools. In addition, so far, no research has been found in which all the significant variables affecting material characteristics were systematically tested nor described.
The proposed research methodology is based on an integrated material driven design process, fusing bio-chemical, physio-mechanical and functional material aspects. A preliminary study examined the suitability several fungal species to develop on regional agricultural wastes. In the proposed research, as a first step, the adjustment of few more fungal species to develop on apple and vine substrates was evaluated.
The current stage of the research tests several fabrication methods, aiming to locate other manufacturing techniques besides using plastic molds and reveal and control unique functional and aesthetic qualities of mycelium-based bio-composites through hands-on design explorations.
Meanwhile, we use biotechnological methods to analyze compositional changes in plant and fungal matter during fermentation and evaluate their relations to final material properties. Accordingly, various biochemical modifications and fabrication methods will be indicated to attain target material properties. In the final stage, several design case-studies will facilitate to fuse biotechnological tools with design research principles and validate the feasibility of obtained materials to selected applications, by matching shape, matter and purpose, through functional and aesthetic values.

Mycelium; Bio-composite; Bio-fabrication, Bio-design, Sustainable Biotechnology, Circular design

Relevant links



– Noam Attias, Ofer Danai, Nirit Ezov, Ezri Tarazi, Yasha J. Grobman, “Developing novel applications of mycelium-based bio-composite materials for design and architecture” Proceedings of COST ACTION FP1303, building with bio-based materials: Best practice and performance specification, September 2017. Zagreb, Croatia.
– Attias, N. “Biological Materials – Cabinets of Curiosities”. In “LifeObject – Emerging Biology and Architecture book”. Eds. Bachelet, I. Bauer, B. Blonder, A. Eylat, Y. Lazarovitch, N. Israeli Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Architectural Biennale. Stern-Thal Pres. Montreal. Canada. Pp123-130. 2016.

• Bio-fabrication- Fusing Industrial design and Biotechnology
• Developing sustainable biological materials in architecture and design.
• Nano-bio-materials, Sustainable materials.
• Applied Mycology – using fungal materials in design and architecture.
• Circular Design, Critical Design Thinking, Multispecies Design.

Mycelium based composites using regional pruning waste as substrate

In this work, several fungi species were grown on varied local agricultural-growth wastes to evaluate which pair of fungi-plant material features the most suitable combination for future applications. The fungi; Pleurotus pulmonarius, Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus salmoneostramineus and Aaegerita agrocibe where grown on woodchips of Eucalyptus, Oak, Pine, Apple and vine. The samples were tested for selected properties, including chemical changes in organic matter (pH, electric conductivity, water, carbon and nitrogen contents), mycelium growth rate, density and quality impression. By examining these fundamental materials characteristics, we aim to achieve a thorough understanding of the structural and aesthetic opportunities that this novel bio-material should offer. The current stage of the research shows that the most efficient integrations where the samples of P. ostreatus grown on Apple or Vine woodchips. Future work will focus on using suitable analytical methods for further understanding of the changes in mycelium and plant structures during the digestion process and locating essential variable parameters of previous and post processing, to achieve desired material properties and introduce innovative characteristics and functions over existing industrial products and applications.