Living Colour is an ongoing biodesign research project exploring the possibilities of sustainable textile dyeing with living bacteria and sound frequencies.
The project is a collaboration between Laura Luchtman (Kukka) and partner-in-design Ilfa Siebenhaar. Ilfa & I met at a course called Textile Academy at Waag Society in Amsterdam. We are both intrigued by bacterial pigments, cymatics and sustainability. For this research project we decided to join forces.
Our research started in the biomedical lab at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. We investigated growing bacteria in patterns by subjecting them to sound frequencies, ways to speed up the growth process and optimum growth conditions. Asking “What effect do sound frequencies have on the growth of bacterial pigments?” and “Can we control the process of growing bacterial pigments?”
This way we hoped to exclude random growth in order to create patterns on fabric.
Bacterial dyes offer an alternative for synthetic dyes. The process uses no chemicals, less water and could possibly add beneficial characteristics like an anti-bacterial function to fabrics. Growing bacteria as a dye factory could lead to a more sustainable way to colour the world.
Our results are published in an open source book, available at Issuu. The publication is also included in the library collection of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. Their research team (products & textiles) is researching the state of the art in natural dye and print techniques/materials in cooperation with ‘Raum für Farben‘ (room for colours).
Living Colour was part of the 2017 exhibition Earth Matters, curated by Li Edelkoort & Philip Fimmano and was featured in the Organic Selection at Keyhouse during Munich Fabric Start in September 2017.