Emma van der Leest (NL)

Emma van der Leest is an award-winning bio-designer, researcher and lecturer specializing in material design and circular economy. She is also founder of BlueCity Lab, an experimental prototyping laboratory in the former subtropical swimming paradise Tropicana in Rotterdam. Her goal is to lower the threshold for anyone interested in working with microorganisms and waste streams in the development of new materials. Over the years, Emma has worked on a number of materials from microorganisms (a collective term for anything living and invisible) that are exhibited worldwide. Emma is tutor and (former) interim pathway leader at Ecology Futures Master program at Master Institute of Visual Cultures from St. Joost Academy (Avans). Previously she also taught at Central Saint Martins in London and the Design Academy in Eindhoven and had a research position at the Willem de Kooning where she also started to develop a biolab.She won the Bio Art & Design Award 2019 with the Fungkee Supercoating, a 100% natural coating extracted from fungal strains. In 2022, Emma made her curatorial debut with the exhibition ‘Nature Loves Technology’ at Floriade.


Photo: Sarah Tulej