Living Colour is an experimental biodesign research project exploring the aesthetic possibilities of natural and sustainable textile dyeing with pigment-producing bacteria.
Some bacteria produce pigments that are biodegradable and friendly to humans, animals, and the environment. Bacterial dyes can pose an alternative to toxic textile dyes.
With our “live dyeing” method – where we cultivate bacteria on fabric – we capture the bacterial life cycle, resulting in visual growth patterns, unique to each dye batch.
Living Colour is both artisanal and highly innovative. We intentionally remove all redundant steps in the dyeing process; we don’t use toxic chemicals, little water, low temperatures and no textile treatments. This thoughtful process results in vibrant colours with natural longevity, challenging industry colour standards.
Growing bacteria as a dye factory can lead to a more sustainable way to colour the world.
Living Colour started in 2016 with cymatics research. We explored the possibilities of growing bacteria in patterns by exposing them to sound frequencies. The resonance of sound frequencies is known to create geometric patterns in matter. This principle is called cymatics.
Design and Concept
Laura Luchtman, Kukka
Ilfa Siebenhaar, Studio Ilfa Siebenhaar
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
BlueCity Lab Rotterdam
Vienna Textile Lab (BInc.ink)
ArtEZ Future Makers
Waag Society Amsterdam
Wageningen University & Research
MoPop Seattle (US)
London Design Festival (UK)
State of Fashion Biennale (NL)
Dutch Design Week (NL)
ELIIT by European Commission
Creative Industries Fund NL
BankGiro Loterij Fund
Greenpact Impact Award · won by our ACT-students team from Wageningen University & Research for “Living Colour” research