Samuel Iliffe

Samuel is a design engineer focused on the use of innovative materials and processes to address everyday problems. He studied a double masters MA/MSc in Innovation Design Engineering from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, and a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from Queen Mary University. In 2020 he was designer in residence at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in asssociation with Algae Platform, a programme of Atelier Luma.

For his residency, Samuel will explore the issue of water pollution and eutrophication in the UK, with a focus on the role that Algae play. He will apply current research around the world along with readily-available technologies to illuminate and visualise, and will interview and connect disparate groups, and design new scenarios to respond to the problem. 


How can a brightly coloured inflatable farm become a vital part of the UK's freshwater ecosystems? Samuel Iliffe’s PHOSFARM is a seaweed farm designed to address the problem of phosphorus pollution in the UK’s freshwater.

Phosphorus is an essential mineral for all living things. However, the overuse of phosphorus-based fertilisers in farming since the 1950s means that too much of it is now running into our lakes and rivers. This causes vivid green algae blooms that damage water-based ecosystems.

In his display, Samuel reveals the varied role of phosphorus in sustaining life. He presents his design for a transportable farm that uses seaweed to help remove phosphorus from waters at risk of pollution – restoring them to health.

[Photos by Felix Speller]