V&A Resident Julian Melchiorri wins The Arts Foundation Award for Materials Innovation

February 10, 2017
Julian Melchiorri

We are delighted to announce that Julian Melchiorri: Exhibition Road Engineering Resident has won The Arts Foundation award for Materials Innovation supported by The Clothworkers’ Foundation, 2017.  The Arts Foundation was set up in 1990 to help artists and celebrate the existence of art. The Foundation awards financial assistance to talented, emerging artists at a time in their careers when they have shown commitment to, and reached some professional standing in, their artform.

Melchiorri is a British-Italian design engineer, biotechnologist and entrepreneur based in London. He has been in residence at the V&A since April 2016 where he has been researching the V&A collections and explore how the latest advancements in biotechnology and engineering can be applied to everyday objects and architecture in order to increase the quality of our lives.

Silk Leaf, 2014

Internationally known for his visionary ‘synthetic leaf’ projects, Melchiorri proposes radical environmental solutions for urban and industrial settings through an innovative exploitation of biological microorganisms and materials to convert waste and pollution into valuable resources.

Melchiorri used a mix of biochemistry, micro fluidics and hand-crafting to create the first man-made biological leaf that can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Silk Leaf (2014) allowed him to reimagine urban environments which could use this novel biomaterial to instigate photosynthesis. The Silk Leaf project led to new opportunities notably the setting up of Melchiorri’s ‘Arborea’ research practice in 2015, where he started developing his BioSolar Leaf using a completely new material and living microorganism.

Application ideas for Silk Leaf, 2014

Melchiorri spoke at the Biomimicry Symposium, V&A (2016) about his research and delivered a TEDx Cibeles talk – ‘Silk Leaf’: revolutionising our urban environment’ in Madrid (2015). He was also a finalist at INDEX Design Award 2015 and featured at the Venice Biennale in 2015, to name but a few.

If you are interested in meeting Julian and learning more about his research while a resident at the V&A please visit one of his Open Studios. See instructions and dates below:

Meet in Gallery 47C, just outside the main Museum shop, where you will be escorted to Julian’s studio in back of house. The Open Studio group will depart at 19.00 sharp, so we advise arriving early.

Friday 24 February 19.00

Friday 31 March 19.00

Friday 21 April 19.00

Friday 19 May 19.00

Wednesday 31 May 14.00

Julian Melchiorri developing Silk Leaf

Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund

About the author

February 10, 2017

I am the Residency Programme Assistant at the V&A, managing our artists in residence and their studios. I also project manage many events, displays and installations run by our Learning...

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