2.07 BIOPIC: Bio-Inspired Design solutions for the living sector

Marco Marseglia
Marzo 2023
Febbraio 2025
Università degli Studi di Firenze

Politecnico di Bari, Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico di Torino, Distretto Interni Design, Distretto Navigo, Distretto Tecnologico per i Nuovi Materiali,

2.07 BIOPIC: Bio-Inspired Design solutions for the living sector

The BIOPIC project proposes bio-inspired design strategies that optimize the life cycle of both the products and the production systems involved (furniture, motorhome and nautical sector) based on the concept of future-proof design. With a view to increasing circularity, during BIOPIC project different approaches will be employed for the development of innovative bio-design strategies, including the optimization of materials and maintenance, the development of innovative multilayered materials, the improvement of surfaces and external coatings, and the facilitation of a correct disassembly at the end of life. In this perspective (design for reduce, for disassembly, for maintenance and remake), the project will work on: generative and parametric design; additive manufacturing; bio-inspired, functional and responsive composite materials; surface treatments for high performance; sustainable and reversible glues; growing materials. The project will take advantage of a true multidisciplinary approach, integrating competences, techniques and technologies from the most relevant fields to Made in Italy, across the fields of design, chemistry, biology, agriculture, material science and engineering. This multidisciplinary collaboration will be fundamental for the successful development of new methods to address Products, Services and Systems, for the cohesive delivery of new solutions. BIOPIC will leverage concepts that Nature applies constantly and will transfer them to products and production processes. For instance, Nature often uses shapes or forms to meet functional requirements, rather than using an excess of materials and energy, finally aiming at minimizing the consumption of resources. This concept will translate into the innovative design of functional products where the external shape and the internal form is designed to meet functional and structural needs, such as insulation and lightness properties in the case of motorhome bodyworks. At the same time, surface functionalization and surface morphology are crucial towards their wettability (i.e., condensation of water vapors), as it happens on biological surfaces where water is collected and used to self-clean. Taking inspiration from Nature and/or combining bio-based materials, BIOPIC aims at integrating methodologies and tools for the functional design of new materials and for the development of highly efficient components with low footprint. Nature typically makes use of a large amount (and a locally high concentration) of weak, physical interactions rather than a small number of strong chemical interactions, eventually taking advantage of self-healing and reversibility concepts. Similarly, we will aim at the improvement of reversible gluing approaches, especially in view of the disassembly of parts at their end of life. Recycled and bio-based materials will be used (exclusively or in combination with highly-performing conventional materials) to improve the sustainability of the products also in terms of raw sources. Generative and parametric design and additive manufacturing will be the key technology to produce such products at the lab scale as well as to envisage the industrial up-scale of their production.
The project will develop in the following activities
● Management: technical and financial monitoring and reporting
● Preliminary analysis on the sectors involved with the aim of identifying the design question with a circular design perspective
● Modeling of design approaches, methodologies, and tools with the aim of identifying materials, products, systems, technologies, processes and tools for a possible design driven strategies for PSS with a view to bio inspiration and circular design perspective
● Design, preparation and characterization of new biomaterials and bio-inspired formulations as biological adhesive (from biology to biomimetics, e.i. reversible glues), bio-polymers and bio-additives
● Design driven experimentation in A2 industry (furniture, motor home, nautical sector). In this phase, specific projects will be defined for the sectors involved and for bio inspired design strategies
● Proof of concept validation
● Dissemination and communication


The BIOPIC project will bring advancement in the state of the art of bioinspired design solutions, tailored for specific applications and conceived in a zero-waste circularity. Potential applications encompass the development of new reversible components, high performance surfaces and innovative porous materials. The expected results include the development of innovative eco-design strategies and bio-inspired solutions for products’ architecture, components, materials, products, and systems, contributing to a portfolio of innovative bio-inspired solutions that could be exploited for many applications, covering different sectors: furniture, motorhome and nautical sectors (in the A2 Industry field). Representative case studies and concepts towards the functional design of highly efficient components, products and systems (with minimized energy and CO2 footprints) will be identified, defined and investigated. Therefore, from the point of view of the economic and environmental impacts, the project proposes design solutions capable of: reducing the impacts starting from the design processes, reducing the amount of waste at the end of its life and the validation of new technologies as well as the hypothesis of new industrial processes. The results achieved through the collaborations of the multidisciplinary team, will allow the validation of the newly developed technologies that will be used for the preparation of lab-scale prototypes, to be eventually presented at dissemination events. In addition, videos and presentations will be prepared in the final phase of the prototype production. Such material could be diffused through specific web pages and disseminated through different channels of communication. Successful dissemination and exploitation of results of the projects are considered essential for the impact on the scientific, industrial and societal fields. For these reasons,dissemination activities will be performed at different levels, to reach a wider audience. The outcomes of the project will be published in peer-reviewed journals and shared in the scientific and specialized community through presentations and posters at national and international conferences and workshops. When possible, open access publications will be choosed. The expected long-term societal and cultural spill-over effects of the project also include an implementation of the societal awareness on the use of circular strategies in different sectors, that will be achieved by participating also in exhibitions, fairs, and other public events. Finally, the solutions proposed by the project will stimulate the activities of micro, medium and large industries.