Regenerative Design in Marine Systems is a transdisciplinary research project. The first case study builds on the previous research by Pirjo Haikola on Corporate Responsibility and Citizen Science related to marine ecosystems and Julia Lohmann on seaweed as a sustainable material for making.

The case study starts with a workshop from 24 February-09 March 2019 with design students from Aalto University and architecture students from KTH Stockholm. The team will spend two weeks at Kristineberg marine research station, learning about the Seafarms located at the Swedish Atlantic coast in Tjärnö and Kristineberg and collaborating with local stakeholders. Seafarm is a seaweed growing and production facility in the Atlantic Ocean that is a research project run by Department for Sustainable Development Environmental Science and Engineering (SEED) the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH Stockholm. For the past years the six partnering universities have been growing and harvesting macroalgae, studying their ecological sustainability and commercial viability. Our study will build on their results by finding applications for macroalgae and the materials derived from it and linking it to the local community. Together with students, scientists and locals we will imagine a future city where seaweed plays an important role.

Seaweed is a versatile material offering applications from bioplastics and textiles to food and biofuel. Our approach is transdisciplinary and integrates the existing knowledge of Seafarm’s ecosystemic impacts to create a Regenerative Industry. Macroalgae farming can contribute both to restoration of the marine environment and to establishing sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities. The course offers an opportunity for students from multiple disciplines to work together to study and develop new products, services and businesses based on seaweed farming. Collaboration with experts and locals enables creating scientifically sound proposals that improve the community.

What can we make from seaweed? Will there be a new local cuisine, local delicacies? Could seaweed be used as architectural material? What kinds of new building typologies are needed for seaweed farming and processing? Would there be family farms, or industrial farming? Does seaweed industry require new urban (marine) infrastructure? How could seaweed industry benefit from local industries and skills? Can we imagine new organizational models, benefiting the ecosystem and the community?


Professor Julia Lohmann (Aalto University) and Dr. Pirjo Haikola (Aalto University) in collaboration with Professor Samuli Patala (Aalto University) and Dr. Seona Candy (University of Helsinki).

Collaboration between the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki and Professor Fredrik Gröndahl (KTH Stockholm) Department for Sustainable Development Environmental Science and Engineering (SEED) the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH Stockholm.


Image: NOAA Photo Library