Oyster shell, Seaweed


Made in

Animal material 61 Biodegradable 228 Circular 215 Composite 97 Recyclable 115 Alginate 9 Oyster shell 5

Oyster shell, Seaweed

Photos: Andreas Limnas

Ostra: Biogun

A ceramic-like biomaterial made from waste oyster shells and seaweed extracts.

The intention of Ostra is to tackle the current operating system and supply chain of oysters, towards a more circular economy in the UK. Working with oyster shell waste from local restaurants, the design challenge was the disruption of oysters going to landfills through meaningful and beautiful material in the form of purposeful product designs.

Oysters are a great source of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), with a content up to 95%. Calcium carbonate is the main ingredient in the production of cement and concrete, and its mining in the concrete industry accounts for 8% of global emissions. While in this case it is seen as a valuable material, on the other hand paradoxically, massive amounts of calcium carbonate (in the form of shells) are produced as a by-product in the fish industry and discarded as a nuisance waste. Their collection, transportation and disposal are expensive and harmful to the environment.

Additional information

Open-Source Biomaterial Extruder:

The BioGun is a distributed design for a handheld extruder that offers new ways of making with biomaterials. By allowing the use of waste materials, The Biogun tackles the waste stream through new and personal designs. It democratises making and minimises energy by hacking the function of existing drills, using digital fabrication tools and standard universal materials. By offering the practicality of mass-production machines into a handheld product, new forms of self-expression and creative exploration become possible.

In the biomaterial world, most attempts at creating and utilising waste material have been resulting in a flat sheet form. Biogun provides new and fun ways of exploring biomaterial forms through an accessible yet specialist tool.

The art of designing with waste:
Boundless possibilities for creative exploration and expression, through inventing and rethinking forms, analysing unusual shapes and patterns.

The craft of designing with waste:
Compared to 3D printing, Biogun is handheld and artisanal in method, meaning that authority is given to the user at every stage of the making process, allowing the design to carry identity and character by intuitively moving/working with the material from any angle.

The craft of designing with waste:
Variety of applications by adopting different techniques and developing the potential of multiple viscous waste materials in three-dimensional forms.

Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.


Oyster shell, alginate, water


University of Brighton, Other Today Studio, Materiom