Talks & Workshops

The challenges and the immense possibilities of biodesign
Want to know how we can grow mother of pearl to use as car paint for Tesla? Or how we can grow pigment producing bacteria for textile dying? Product designer and biodesign expert Emma van der Leest can tell you about it.
In collaboration with scientists, artist and designers, she’s constantly researching new ways of developing materials. And that is what she does in BlueCity
Lab, for Brilliant Blue Ideas, in the heart of Rotterdam. Van der Leest tells about the challenges and especially the immense possibilities of biodesign. You can also book her for workshops, lectures, panels, exhibitions, hosting, interviews.


Biodesign? I inspire and advise companies, students, NGO’s and institutions about my work as biodesigner. Where do you start? What do you need? How can I be involved? How can I implement this in my company? Over the years I had the pleasure to speak at multiple conferences, festivals, universities and corporate events about how to integrate tiny organisms in the design process and use nature’s principles as my guide.

Latest lectures: Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing, China | Keynote Future Materials Conference, Budapest | 10th Futurological Symposium with Glenn Albrecht | Dutch Innovation Days | De Balie Amsterdam | Snøhetta, Oslo | Dutch Design Week 2022 | KHIO Oslo | Royal Academy of Art The Hague | UN Studio | Elle Decoration Trend Event | Politecnico di Milano  | Pakhuis de Zwijger | Milieudefensie | Waag Amsterdam | MU Artspace | HfG Karlsruhe | St. Lucas Eindhoven

Latest testimonials:
”We really appreciated that Emma took part in DID, she was an amazing addition both on stage and in the expo, and she really embodies the vision and mission of our festival. We received great feedback on her work from the audience. Moreover, we were very happy she wanted to stay there for the entire of the conference, to take part in our podcast, and it was wonderful to see her face in the audience of other talks during the days. It was very nice to get to know her, and we are so proud she is one of our DID ambassadors” — Erle Eide Nyhus, Dutch Innovation Days, May 2023
”Emma is not only a wonderful and inspiring speaker, but she also makes all the communication around her engagement effortless, clear and pleasurable. We were happy to have her join us at the event!”
— Mira Stanic, UNstudio, July 2022
“At the start of the BlueCity Circular Challenge 2020, Emma van der Leest introduced our participants into the world of biodesign. She developed a tailor made workshop and executed it exceptionally well. She shared her insights and experiences with biodesign, and came up with interactive working methods. With these methods, our participants put their newly gained knowledge into practise in the same workshop. Highly recommended!” — Pieter De Stefano, Circular Challenge


Want to get your hands dirty? Learn how you can ferment a bioleather or create pigments from (food) waste streams? Want to learn more about biomimicry via a (virtual) game? Get in touch!

Latest workshops:  Avans University | BlueCity Lab | Willem de Kooning Academy | HfG Karlsruhe | St. Lucas Eindhoven | MU Artspace | Fontys University | CIBAP | AKV. St Joost | Symbiosis Festival


Are you looking for a moderator for your event? An expert in the field of biodesign who like to present and gets your audience excited? Please inform for more information.

Latest moderations: Studium Generale Avans University | RotterZwam: Terug naar de Bodem launch | Hortiheroes | Biodesign Night BlueCity