Biomedical applications require substrata that allow for the grafting, colonization and control of eukaryotic cells. Currently available materials are often limited by insufficient possibilities for the integration of biological functions and means for tuning the mechanical properties. We report on tailorable nanocomposite materials in which silica nanoparticles are interwoven with carbon nanotubes by DNA polymerization. The modular, well controllable and scalable synthesis yields materials whose composition can be gradually adjusted to produce synergistic, non-linear mechanical stiffness and viscosity properties. The materials were exploited as substrata that outperform conventional culture surfaces in the ability to control cellular adhesion, proliferation and transmigration through the hydrogel matrix. The composite materials also enable the construction of layered cell architectures, the expansion of embryonic stem cells by simplified cultivation methods and the on-demand release of uniformly sized stem cell spheroids.