Breaking the boundaries between biology, design, and technology

19-21 September, London-based Open Cell hosts an exhibition called #Biodesign HereNow, during London Design Festival. The expo will show all sorts of emerging ideas from international designers and start-ups for projects that combine biology, design, and technology.

Studio Tinello, founded by Silvio Tinello, will show two collections of objects, accessories and jewellery all entirely bio-fabricated, which means they are grown and harvested using biological processes. The objects are grown in yerba mate with a fungi bio agglomerate and bacterial cellulose.

Catering to the urgent need for dye alternatives within the fashion industry, Post Carbon Lab developed two microbiological processes for sustainable and regenerative fashion applications: Bacterial Pigment Dyeing and Photosynthesis Coating on fabrics and garments. In the exhibition, they are showcasing their upcycled textile-bioreactors made out of foraged waste materials like inner bike tires and windows, salvaged in London. Designer fashion pieces are coated with photosynthetic microorganisms and dyed with pigment-producing bacteria are also on display.

Denimaize, a spinoff company of the University of Pennsylvania, uses biodesign to redesign denim. Wasted and diseased corn husks are processed to extract their cellulose fibres. The corn fibres are spun with flax and woven in a twill pattern. The resulting fabric is coloured with microbial dye and relaxed with cellulose enzymes.

London-based studio Biological Laboratory of Architecture and Sensitive Technologies takes inspiration from natural ecosystems with their Lovely Trash project. They collect local food waste, transforming it into furniture with the help of mushrooms. Mycelium, the root system of mushrooms, digests organic matter and grows in the shape of a mould, allowing itself to be shaped into any desired shape. Italian designer Valentina Dipietro also experiments with mycelium, trying to introduce colour at growing level using various substrates and fungi species.

Bio-Integrated Design (Bio-ID) of Bartlett School of Architecture will present a wall segment with ceramic tiles veneered with living microbial colonies. These colonies self-assemble in a highly ordered three-dimensional microscopic bulk that exhibits iridescence and peculiar luminosity.

Barbara Drozek experiments with 3D printing beeswax in water, to cool and support the material.

Mohammad Jawad’s project explores the use of natural minerals, crystallisation and 3D printing to develop new forms of making for designers.

The colours in most consumer products are derived from petrochemicals. Swedish designer Nicole Stjernswärd developed a method to transform waste form everyday food, like avocados, into pigments you can paint with.

Finally, Indian designer Midushi Kochhar developed an alternative for plastic made from waste from the poultry industry: eggshells and feathers. All products are completely biodegradable.

The exhibition also includes Paula Nerlich’s aquafaba-based bioplastic and Rosie Broadhead’s bacteria-infused clothing, which you can read about more here and here, respectively.

For all exhibited projects, click here.

Photos via Open Cell