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Biodesign Foundation

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Biodesign Foundation[edit]

Based in St. Gallen, Switzerland, the non-profit BioDesign Foundation owns and manages the intellectual and material inheritance and legacy of Luigi Colani. The BioDesign Foundation is currently nationally represented in Italy, Germany, Spain, South Africa, and China.

Committed to researching and implementing durable environmental solutions, BioDesign Foundation applies Luigi Colani's pragmatic, solution-orientated design philosophy to environmental protection measures. Building on Luigi Colani’s legacy, BioDesign Foundation’s mission is the re-establishment of harmony between humans, technology and nature.

BioDesign Foundation’s financial model consists of directly investing funds generated from the sale of Colani art pieces into the research and development of actionable environmental solutions, without investing in the stock market as an intermediary source of funding.

BioDesign Foundation is currently led by its President Roberto Guerini. From 2006 until Colani’s death in 2019, Guerini acted as chief designer and curator for Luigi Colani.


BioDesign Foundation was founded in April 2021 in St. Gallen.

BioDesign Foundation draws its name from Luigi Colani’s design concept: BioDesign. As the nucleus of his working philosophy, the 90/10 formula guided Colani’s creative work: 90%inspiration from nature + 10% transformation Colani = BioDesign. Anchored in this deep committment to nature-inspired design, Colani instigated the formation of the BioDesign Foundation with the goal of giving back to nature.

Launching its activies with the Vox Maris Project in 2021, BioDesign Foundation incepted its mission with tackling marine plastic pollution in direct collaboration with the consortium of fishers in Chioggia. Vox Maris focuses on preventing the disposal of fishing nets at sea and promotes education initiatives amongst fishers to protect by-catch. Since 2021 the initiative has collected more than 450.000 kg of fishing nets and has expanded its operations to several major fishing harbours in the Adriatic.

As Sustainable Guest of The Ocean Race, in June 2023, BioDesign Foundation launched The Custodians Plastic Race. With this “race against time”, the foundation aims to mitigate against nature bound plastic waste in national clean-up operations. The format entails bringing together a task force from all parts of society to tackle the problem of plastic waste in nature. Working in close collaboration with governmental entities such as the italian navy, army, civil protection, finance guard, carabinieri, as well as civil society actors such as universities, schools, national sports associations, NGO’s, companies with their employees, associations and other volunteers, BioDesign Foundation is preparing to launch the first national clean-up in Italy in spring 2025.

In June 2023 the Mrina Militare Nastro Rosa Tour announced its sustainability partnership with BioDesign Foundation.

In March 2024 the European Sailing Federation EUROSAF announced its sustainability partnership with BioDesign Foundation.

In March 2024 the European Athletics Championship Rome 2024 and the Athletic Federations Federation (FIDAL) announced their sustainability partnership with BioDesign Foundation.

In April 2024 the European Match Race Tour announced its sustainability partnership with BioDesign Foundation.


The BioDesign Foundation’s mission is rooted in Luigi Colani’s design philosophy. The core of his progressive life's work is defined by the pursuit of human innovation in harmony with nature. Acknowledging and respecting the genius of nature therefore features prominently in the foundation’s publications and press communications.

Drawing on 90/10 BioDesign formula, the foundation emphasises 5the human dependence on a thriving natural environment and promotes a worldview that re-contextualises humans as part of biodiversity, rather than an entity external to it. In turn the foundation provides the institutional umbrella to re-purpose Colani’s lifetime achievements to give back to nature through researching and developing actionable environmental solutions. 1

The Custodians Earth Solution Project[edit]

The Custodians Earth Solution Project is BioDesign Foundation’s initiative to develop a citizen science encyclopaedia which provides a forum to all parts of society, thereby connecting “those who see the challenges of the world” with “those who have the means to resolve them”.

Challenges are registered on the online forum. A team of factcheckers from BioDesign Foundation research the given challenge and provide further scientific information to guide the subsequent open-format online discussion about possible solution approaches.

Once concrete solution approaches have been established on the forum, in collaboration with scientific research centre the BioDesign Foundation Research Centre researches and develops concrete interventions, business plans and secures funding for the implementation of the solutions. Up to date data gathered from research trials and the roll-out of solutions are shared with the community on the forum.

To promote human life in harmony with nature, the protection of biodiversity and sustainable design, BioDesign Foundation has devises The Custodians Codex as well as The BioDesign Codex. Both documents respectively provide citizens globally and designers alongside manufacturers with inspiration to adopt a healthy lifestyle, respect the environment, and create a new man-made object-scape by, for example, making the afterlife of products as important in the production process as the function during their life cycle. 1

The Custodians Plastic Race[edit]

BioDesign Foundation developed a format to conduct systematic cleaning operations in national formats to contribute to ridding nature from plastic waste. Following the motto “All Together Now”, BioDesign Foundation is committed to bringing together all parts of society as the only feasible pathway to resolve plastic pollution in nature.

Globally, The Custodians Plastic Race is the first initiative that integrates governmental institutions and civil society actors for clean-up operations, thereby promoting the need for collective action against plastic pollution in the interest of national public health.  

Clean-up activities are prepared through the use of the CESP App, a citizen science instrument developed by BioDesign Foundation and ETT. The application is used to geo-localise zones of contamination and coordinate ongoing clean-up activities.

During clean-up operations the respective regional branch of civil protection coordinates clean-up activities on land in its region, while the national navy and coast guard coordinate coastal and offshore clean-up activities.

Thus far, sports events have been central to expansion of The Custodians Plastic Race. Launched alongside The Ocean Race in 2023 in Genova, The Custodians Plastic Race completed a tour of Italy alongside the seven stops of the Marina Militare Nastro Rosa Tour in 2023, completed clean-ups at the stops of the Mini Transat sailing regatta 2023 and most recently in March 2023 implemented a stage of The Custodians Plastic Race at the Formula Kite European Championships 2024 in Mar Menor, Spain. In collaboration with the European Athletic Championships 2024 The Custodians Plastic Race will be rolled out in Rome in June 2024.

In addition, BioDesign Foundation works closely with outdoor athletes. As directly exposed to environmental pollution which can compromise their athletic performance, as role models to many people across generations, and as holder of international media visibility, outdoor athletes are ideal ambassadors for representing BioDesign Foundation’s mission.


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