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John Bertolaso

Multidisciplinary Designer,
Mechanical Engineer and Explorer

As a mechanical engineer and designer, I am continually exploring the convergence of emerging technologies and future design practices to build resilience in natural and societal ecosystems.

I am now CTO of hydroCotton, where we grow the world’s most sustainable, transparent and future-proof cotton to help fashion companies clean up their supply chains. I used to lead R&D and sustainability at Daye, and before that I built interactive sculptures in the contemporary arts sector.

Drop me a line if you want to connect or collaborate.


Unbound by any particular industries, my professional experience is centered around environmental and social impact through design and innovation. I’ve had the opportunity to work in agritech, fashion, contemporary arts and female healthcare amongst others. Here are the latest chapters of my career, but there’s more here and on my LinkedIn.


Sustainable, transparent and future-proof cotton

hydroCotton - Radically sustainable, transparent and future-proof cotton - John Bertolaso

Bridging the gender gap in medical innovation

Daye - Raising the standards in female health products and research - John Bertolaso
Random International

Augmented environments and dynamic multi-sensorial interactions

Random International - Augmented environments and dynamic multi-sensorial interactions - John Bertolaso


Beyond pragmatism, my projects aim to probe and provoke in order to make us question our reality and what could be. I’m very interested in the futures of food and agriculture, but I also think a lot about what materials, supply chains, architecture and networked urbanism might look like tomorrow.


Automated food growing unit

Spring - Building symbiosis between man and nature - John Bertolaso
A food manifesto

Foundations for future food production

Manifesto for the future of food production - Foundational thoughts about feeding ourselves in the coming decades - John Bertolaso

Sustainable food app

Ecotrack - Bringing transparency to sustainable food choices - John Bertolaso
Generations (pt.1)

Modular garments

Generations (pt.1) - Exploring a more responsible way to design and construct garments - John Bertolaso
Generations (pt.2)

Modular garments

Generations (pt.2) - Exploring a more responsible way to design and construct garments in collaboration with Bianca Saunders - John Bertolasoo

Waste management initiative

CarryOn - Investigating New York City's waste streams - John Bertolaso

Augmented speech assistance

Verse - Giving a voice to people suffering from cognitive and speech disorders - John Bertolaso
In need of transformation

Augmented materiality

In Need of Transformation - Augmenting materiality through craft/automation hybrid processes (in collaboration with Studio INI) - John Bertolaso

Interactive digital being

Yosei - interactive digital being - by John Bertolaso

Augmented adventures

Blackbox - Augmenting adventures by embedding memories in garments (in collaboration with Vollebak) - John Bertolaso

Self and other

Perfect? - Challenging ideals of the self - John Bertolaso
Prosthetic Foot

Biomedical engineering

Prosthetic Foot for Cross-Country Skiing - Enabling physically impaired cross-country skiers and biathlete to compete - John Bertolaso
Thermoelectric Device

Off-grid electricity

Thermoelectric Device - Providing safe energy in developing countries - John Bertolaso


From glacial equatorial jungles to some of the most populated cities, the adventures I go on help me discover spectrums within cultures, people and behaviours, and continually influence my process.

Mont Blanc


Adventures on the Mont Blanc - by John Bertolaso


2019 - now Co-founder & CDO
hydroCotton, London
2020 - now Design Engineering and Sustainability Manager
Daye, London
2019 - 2020 Senior Design Engineer
Daye, London
2017 - 2019 Design Engineer
Random International, London
2017 - 2018 Design Engineer and Advisor
Studio INI, London
2016 - 2017 Design Engineer
Tangent, London
2013 Summer Intern
Troika, London
2012 - 2013 Co-Founder & Treasurer
Imperial College Design Collective, London
2012 Design Researcher (UROP)
Imperial College London, London
2006 - 2010 Summer Intern
TR Engineering, Luxembourg
2008 - 2009 Group Leader
Patro Desmond Tutu, Belgium


2014 - 2016 Global Innovation Design (MA, MSc)
Royal College of Art & Imperial College London,
Pratt Institute (NYC),
Keio Media Design (Tokyo)
2010 - 2014 Mechanical Engineering (MEng)
Imperial College London
2009 - 2010 Architecture (1st year)
Institut Supérieur d’Architecture Saint-Luc, Brussels


2014 - 2016 Industrial Design Studentship,
Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851


Field of work → Design engineering, design thinking, future probing, cross-cultural design research, human-centered design, experience design
→ Problem solving, prototyping, technical drawings, industrial design and DFM, project management, field implementation
Softwares Adobe Creative Suite, Solidworks, C4D, HTML/CSS, Javascript, Processing, Arduino, Rhinoceros, Unity (basic), InVision
Manufacturing Metals, polymers, woods
→ lathe, milling machine, drill press, band saw, table saw, power saw, belt sander, grinder
→ rapid prototyping, vacuum forming, design for injection moulding
Languages French (mother tongue, fully fluent), English (fully fluent), Spanish (conversational, good reading)