Innovation & Technology Product Design

Conor McArthur

I’m an experimental product designer who enjoys hands-on problem solving. My design philosophy prioritises environmentally conscious practices, specifically focusing on exploring regenerative materials to create impactful solutions for globally relevant challenges.

KelpWorks: A Material Exploration of Seaweed

KelpWorks: A Material Exploration of Seaweed

My Thesis Project aimed to challenge the conventional use of extractive and finite materials while redefining perceptions of regenerative biomaterials. I focused on seaweed, a locally abundant resource in Scotland. Rather than only showcasing the potential of seaweed and suggesting hypothetical applications, the goal was to refine and successfully demonstrate a practical application. Specifically, I focused on creating a workable textile from seaweed, targeting its use in music festivals with broader implications for events and other industries.

Through discussions with seaweed industry experts in Scotland and a series of experiments, my material process evolved through trial and error to produce a ‘seaweed leather’. I discovered that there are many factors that can affect living materials; they require more careful handling than conventional materials and are highly sensitive to environmental conditions.

After exploring various applications and consulting with a music festival organiser, I identified an opportunity for seaweed leather to replace synthetic textiles in event settings that are used for privacy and graphic communication purposes. This led to the creation of a conceptual pavilion, incorporating seaweed leather. I built a segment of the pavilion that provides seating, shelter, and privacy, with possible modular variations indicating scalability for diverse event scenarios. Overall the project aims to bridge the gap between conceptualising with regenerative biomaterials and the practical applications necessary for them to be taken seriously as materials.

Seaweed Bench

Wooden Structure




Why Seaweed


Circularity of Seaweed Leather

Product Cycle


Seaweed Experiments 2

Seaweed Leather Experiments

Laser Engraving and Screen Printing

Collecting Seaweed

Drying Seaweed in Studio

Drying Seaweed in Garden