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Design Products (MA)

Runyu Li

Runyu's practice is in social innovation design, interactive installations, and product design.

He is keen to find the balance between social change and people's relationships and find design possibilities from it. In the design process, he tends to research on-site with local communities, industry, and materials.

As a designer, he believes that we should not only focus on the experience but also on how to make and who is making the products at the same time, thus designing the production of a relationship rather than a single product.

boy, 25
By the stream I dream in calm delight, and watch as in a glass - Paul Laurence Dunbar

'CADI' is a set of glass artifacts made together by Haslemere's glass artist, jewelry crafter, and a kind of insect called caddisfly. In a practical way, It explores the possibility, as an example, of how we can make a bio-friendly symbiotic production system with wildlife, and how to construct local authentic uniqueness.

The project has connected the local wildlife and the crafters through the combination of techniques. The single-layered debris-made cases made by caddisflies are hard to make from humans. Caddisflies' cases are brought into the fusing glass technique, thus bringing us unique glass artifacts. Symbolically, it represents the local natural environment because the caddisflies are various and distinctive in different locations and habitats.

Sentimentally, People hate or love insects. The artefact as a discursive object provides us a chance to show our attitude and talk about it. Looking at the delicate object, should or not we keep the negative impression on the keystone of the living stream? The design gives us another way of perception of how we deem the creature.

The production of 'CADI' is catalysing the local breeding system that would be helpful for the local bio-diversity. The breeding system increases the numeration of caddisfly, and the caddisfly can provide a microhabitat for other creatures in the stream habitat system, and also increase their abundance of them. Thus, the production will provide positive feedback to the stream habitats.

Glass Pebbles in the river.

In the glass river

Inspired by the poem and the habitat of caddisflies, the form comes from the pebbles in the water, shiny in the stream, with caddisflies living under the pebbles.

Glass plate with caddisflies' cases
Wearing CADI jewellery
A brooch
introducing caddisflies
Life cycle of caddisflies
Biodiversity matters
Can we takes caddisflies into production to helps biodiversity?
A possibility of building a breeding system
researching on habitat of caddisflies
What they eat in the nature

Possibilities of caddisflies

Caddisflies have the potential to increase the local abundance of creatures. And they can also produce a kind of silk that could be used in the medical industry or laboratory. But unfortunately, there has been not so much experience to breed them.

If we can build a local breeding system for caddisflies with products and let them go back into the wild, we can help them to build shelters for other creatures and clean the fresh water.

To achieve this goal, I have consulted researchers in economic aquatic insects and the taxonomy of caddisflies.

raise caddisflies
Material testing
cases are easy to crush
Changing the material of the cases
Recycled glass and bricks for cases
The debris is too big
the size of debries is acceptable
Summerised making of caddisflies' cases
Summerising the quality and decide the target
UV resin testing, low quality and gave up
resin testing, low durability and gave up
testing the possible way of fusing glass to keep the caddisflies' cases inside
trying to find the size and parameter of keep caddisflies inside.
The final
glass pebbles
second batch of pebbles
testing the plate
The flattened cases

Collaborating with glass artist.

By collaborating with the local glass artist, Sandy, the founder of the Rock and Shards from Haslemere, we have developed a specific method to keep the caddisflies' tube inside the glass and keep its vivid shape.