Living Colour is a biodesign research project exploring the possibilities of sustainable textile dyeing with living bacteria. Biodesign is the cross-pollination of nature, science and design, where living organisms form an integral part of the design process.
The project is a collaboration between Laura Luchtman (Kukka) and partner-in-design Ilfa Siebenhaar.
We investigated optimum growth conditions for bacterial pigments, ways to speed up the growth process and the possibilities of growing bacteria in patterns by subjecting them to sound frequencies. 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 eventually upscale the bacterial dye process.
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 can 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 Applied University of Lucerne, Switzerland. Their research team (products & textiles) in cooperation with ‘Raum für Farben‘ (room for colours) is researching the state of the art in natural dye- and print techniques/materials.