Bioinspired engineered microenvironments provide cells with a holistic “instructive niche” that offers the adequate entourage for cellular control both in space and time. Biomaterials provides essentially surface signals. We hypothesise that volume characteristics of biomaterials have a negligible influence on cell-behaviour and new tissue formation as compared with interfacial mechanical, topographic or biochemical properties. We explore this problem using minimalistic approaches, emplying scaffoldess strategies or by exposing cells to biomaterials that are designed to maximise the area to the volume. Examples from our group are presented, including: (i) a new concept of cell fiberoids, where fibres made of cells are engineered without any biomaterials; (ii) cell-sheets and cell-stamps obtained by magnetic force based-tissue engineering; (iii) cell encapsulation in liquified capsules with thin biomaterials shells for the autonomous development of microtissues; or (iv) ultrathin cell carriers with controlled geometry, and cell caps obtained by surface cell engineering. Such elements can be used as building blocks to be assemble into large constructs to produce macroscopic tissues using bottom-up tissue engineering methodologies.