Symbiots set out to examine values such as ease-of-use, comfort, and rationality assumed within conventions of 'good design', in order to expose issues related to energy consumption and current human- (versus eco-) centered design paradigms. Exploring re-interpretations of graphical patterns, architectural configurations and electrical infrastructure typical in Swedish cities, Symbiots takes the form of a photo series in the genre of contemporary hyper-real art photography. Painting a vivid picture of alternatives to current local priorities around energy consumption, the three design concepts depicted are strangely familiar, alternatively humorous and sinister.

The Symbiots project team includes Jenny Bergstrm, Ramia Maz, and Johan Redstrm, and Anna Vallgrda, with photography by Olivia Jeczmyk and Bildinstitutet.

Symbiots is part of the switch! design research program at the Interactive Institute funded by the Swedish Energy Agency. Additional funding has been provided through the project Forms of Sustainability funded by the Swedish Research Council.


bergström, jenny, ramia mazé, johan redström, & Anna Vallgårda (2009): "Symbiots: Conceptual Interventions Into Urban Energy Systems" In the Proceedings of the Nordic Design Research Conference, Oslo, Norway, August 30 - September 1, 2009 [pdf]