Interview by Lula Criado
London-based designer Amy Congdon’s bespoke biological textiles employ speculative design to inspire and provoke critical thinking. Congdon uses design to produce conceptual work that helps us imagine and understand how reality might be different.
With Data Hungry Skin —a project developed in 2010— she explores, in a not-too-distant future scenario, how diverse types of data can have different nutritional values. The human body absorbs these ‘data meals’ through the membranes of the cells.
Amy Congdon continues her research focused on the role of textile design in the creation of biological products. Under this premise, she developed Biological Atelier —a critical design project— in which Congdon reflects on the use of emerging living materials grown from cells to create future materials.
What is more important: to take or not to take yourself too seriously in order to be creative?
Definitely don’t take yourself too seriously. The times I try and force creativity it never happens, and I often find inspiration when I’m least expecting it or concentrating on something else.
What’s your favourite time of the day?
I’m a night owl, so I tend to find I work best later on and it’s my favourite time of day if things are going well! Generally, though, I would have to say I love dusk and sunset, even though its clichéd, its probably because I grew up in Suffolk, where there are the most beautiful skies at that time of day.
Solitude or loneliness, how do you spend your time alone?
I work best in solitude. I’m too easily distracted when others are around, and I love the contemplation that comes with making quietly on your own. I’m also a bookworm and love to read so I’m really very happy in my own company.
Have you found beauty in unexpected places/situations?
All the time, it’s often the unexpected in life that makes it interesting, if a little bonkers.
What do you want to achieve before you die?
The one thing I definitely don’t want to achieve before I die is ever to feel I’ve made something perfect because I think if that happens, then it’s time to stop. And I really don’t want to.
One for the road… What are you unafraid of?
Being thought of as weird! With the kind of work I do, as a textile designer working in a science lab, I’d be fighting a losing battle from the off.