Biomimicry, Bionics and Design Innovation

2006-The Intersection of Design Engineering and Biology

School of Design, February 14th 2023.

This semester, students in Prof Fernando Carvalho’s DES.410 Product Design 2 class will be participating in the Biodesign Challenge (, an international competition promoting the integration of design, innovation, and biotechnology. This is the very first time San Francisco State will be a part of this prestigious event, taking place in late-June, in New York City.

In order to support the students’ learning process, and to equip the design teams with complementary knowledge stemming from the intersecting areas of design, biology, and engineering, the class hosted a guest lecture by the award-winning designer Henrique Monnerat. Mr Monnerat shared his approach to bionics and biomimicry, showing some of his projects developed during his Master’s research degree in Germany. His insights on how designers can give shape and purpose to scientific concepts via creating and executing inventive ideas were inspirational to our Industrial Design students, in their efforts to explore the emerging field of biodesign.

About the Guest Speaker

Henrique Monnerat

Henrique Monnerat is a Brazilian Product Designer and educator based in Monterey, California. He began his career as an industrial designer in 2007 when he joined the Institute for Design-Oriented Innovation ITD-Offenbach to perform R&D projects in biomimetic design (machinery and components inspired by nature). In this Institute, he was responsible for designing new concepts of pneumatic actuators for the German company Festo AG and new bionic-inspired damping systems for the German company Rittal AG. Also in Europe, Henrique Monnerat worked for two years as a junior product designer in the Dutch design company FLEX/Design, participating in more than 100 projects for large companies such as Tefal, TNT Post, Grolsch, Skil, Mitchum, Ambipur and Albert Heijn. Helped the office receive three major design awards, the Red Dot Award for packaging spices from Verstegen company, Goed Industrieel Ontwerp Award for designing Ingenio collapsible pots handles for Tefal company, and the portable brewer Grolsch Cheersch Beer Tap.

Back in Brazil, Henrique started to work as an independent designer, as a consultant for technology-oriented projects, and to teach design practice at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. In 2012, he co-founded, an initiative that provides training resources, methods, and curriculum planning tools for educators to plan and implement an effective Makerspace within their classroom settings.

Henrique Monnerat graduated in Industrial Design from the School of Arts and Design Offenbach am Main in Germany and has a German equivalent of a master's degree in Biomimicry from the same design school.

Perennial Planet Exhibition Opening Reception

The School of Design invites you to PERENNIAL PLANET, a one-week exhibition in the DesignSpace Gallery [Fine Arts 115] running from April 28 to May 5, 2023.  Fostering and celebrating ingenuity in creating sustainable design for our future, this exhibition is the culmination of a collaboration between Professor JD Beltran's Gallery Exhibition Design course and Professor Fernando Carvalho's Product Design course.  

This SFSU curricular collaboration also has been invited to showcase this work for the 2023 international Biodesign Challenge Summit. SFSU student teams will travel to New York this June to present their work at New York Museum of Modern Art and The New School, Parsons School of Design Biodesign Showcase.

A major achievement of this collaboration also is the establishment of the San Francisco State University Sustainable Materials Learning Library. SFSU Design students and faculty are founding and creating the first west-coast college-based materials library focused exclusively on sustainable and/or recycled materials for designers, which will be headquartered in the Humanities Building and accessible to both the SFSU community and the general public. 

The library itself is constructed solely from sustainable materials; the students, along with SFSU Staff Richard Ortiz and Justin Wong and Professor Beltran have invented an ingenious mobile wall system for housing the sustainable material samples tiles, utilizing sustainable plywood supported with novel hempcrete bases to display the library’s collection of samples of sustainable and/or recycled materials sourced from manufacturers all over the world.  

Please join us to celebrate ingenuity in sustainability and explore our work!


  • DesignSpace, Fine Arts Bldg 115
  • April 28 - May 5, 2023
  • Opening Reception:  Friday, April 28, Noon-1:30pm
  • Closing Reception: Friday, May 5, 11:00am - 12:30pm

For inquiries, please write or