Biomaterials company devoted to safeguarding the environment

Smart Bioplastics

We are pioneering a new paradigm for solving plastics pollution - by engineering bioplastics that are “smarter” than traditional plastics. By harnessing nature’s embedded intelligence, we are creating materials with advanced interactive and biodegradable properties that will alleviate petroleum plastics once and for all.

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We envision a world where objects come to life, and degrade after their use.


Our Work


Together with a network of scientists, engineers, and community organizations, we conduct research to develop new environmentally sustainable materials that can be functionallized and integrated into different applications. We publish articles and papers in renowned journals and conferences, to make our work available to others.


We aim to build a future that serves us all. We consistently engage in critical dialogue and reflection upon our innovations to ensure that our work is building the future we want to see. In our culture program, we imagine and build experiences that foster public dialogue about humanity’s relationship with the natural world.



We facilitate people of all skill levels and backgrounds to make radical innovations. We develop tools and enabling technologies that inspire imagination and invention. Through these tools - as well as workshops - we increase access to traditionally inaccessible knowledge, such as chemical and biological research methods and mechanisms.


We partner with non-profits and companies across a range of sectors. Our programs include activities such as consulting, hands-on workshops, featured talks, and curated events.

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Get Involved


Make with our kit

Visit our online store to purchase our biomaterials, project kits, and supplies to make your own Primitive Bioplastic creations. We currently only ship to the US. For international orders or request to conduct workshops in your organization, email us at

Work with us

We conduct hands-on workshops, produce brainstorming sessions, and reports to support our partners in the challenges they face. If you have a plastics challenge in your organization, we would love to work with you!

Join the mailing list

Stay connected on upcoming events, exhibits, and product demos. We will send emails regarding invitations to activities and updates on our work.

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Plastic particles have made their way into the food we eat, to the clothing we wear, and the places we inhabit. While petroleum based plastics are low cost to produce and versatile across many applications, they have become one of the most pressing ecological issues of our time. Primitive Labs Biodesign is a research and design organization that engineers advanced biomaterials, applications, and tools to alleviate plastics pollution.

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Viirj Kan, co-founder

Viirj is a designer, engineer, and entrepreneur. She holds a Master of Science from the MIT Media Lab in the Mediated Matter group led by Professor Neri Oxman and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from the Art Center College of Design. Prior to MIT, Viirj conducted human-robot interaction research at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, attended INSEAD business school, and worked as a consultant for early-stage startups.


Noa Machover, co-founder

Noa is a designer, synthetic biologist, and environmental activist. Noa is currently at Brown University in the Urban Design department. She began her undergraduate studies at MIT and conducted synthetic biology research at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Noa has also had a range of community-rooted experiences including environmental organizing and park design for the city of Providence.




Emma Vargo

Emma is a materials scientist and PhD candidate at University of California, Berkeley, where she studies nanoscale self-assembly of soft matter systems. She is interested in how mechanisms that exist naturally can be adapted for use in engineered systems. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and worked at MIT Media Lab on the Organic Primitives project.

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Baudouin Saintyves

Baudouin is a physicist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he investigates the emergence of shapes and patterns in nature. His research draws on an experimental approach in the study of statistical physics, elasticity and fluid mechanics. He completed his PhD in Paris, France at Pierre et Marie Curie University (Sorbonne) and conducted research as a post-doc at Harvard University in the Wyss Institute.

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Our Supporters

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