BioElectric plastic- Chitin

Royal College of Art graduate Jeongwon Ji made this bioplastic from crab shells. The Chinese mitten crab is one of the most invasive species and are unwanted in a lot of waters, so are culled. Jeongwon wanted to turn them into a resource instead of an annoyance. She aimed to make a more tactile casing for electric products. All ingredients are non-toxic and so improve the manufacturing conditions of workers. The results are tactile natural forms that make intriguing objects, therefore being successful in something electrical designers spend years achieving.


Know looking at the TEN I can see that this design fulfils design to minimise waste, design that takes models from nature and history and design activism. These products use up the shells of crabs that are culled. Hundreds of shells would be discarded otherwise and using them for another purpose minimises waste. Further, these products are designed to be as natural and free as possible. She tried to put them in rigid moulds before hand but the material still twists and alters, and the designer embraces that. Also, this project is a statement against hard man-made plastics. She decides to conceal the man-made plastic with this handmade natural material, forcing people to question why we use man-made plastic to imitate and work with our bodies when we could just use bio materials that do this naturally.


In my opinion, Jeongwon Ji’s work is a very sensitive solution to a difficult problem. The culling of creatures is a tough issue to approach and so a delicate approach is needed. Ji’s solution does this, it is tactile and natural. I think it does the crabs justice. It is also a good example of design activism as she highlights the problem over species interference. Culling is a popular solution and so why not make art from the animals that would otherwise just rot away.


Design to minimise waste

Design activism

Harvard reference: 

Rose Etherington . (2013). BioElectric by Jeongwon Ji. Available: Last accessed 23rd Oct.


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