ArtEZ Future Makers started a collaboration – The Future of Living Materials – with Wageningen University & Research and State of Fashion. The project investigates and develops new ‘living’ materials (e.g. bio-based materials, textiles from micro-organisms, etc.) for the transition to a sustainable fashion system and a circular society.

We are invited to participate in this research project, very exciting since it is not always easy for designers to connect to scientists. So far we’ve collaborated with professors, post-doc and master students from Wageningen University to research optimum growth conditions for our bacteria, ways to create patterns on textile and possibilities of up scaling our bio dyeing process. It’s great to see that after sharing our story, more people are eager to get on board.

The project The Future of Living Materials consists of 5 subprojects:

1. A New Luxury: creating new sustainable value chains for fashion, product & interior design:
experimenting with local, natural materials such as algae, pinecones and tulips and sustainable applications as a renewed form of luxury.

2. Living Colors: in order to achieve a form of ‘aesthetic sustainability’, this sub-project focuses on the circular life of colour, and specifically: the possibilities of a new colour palette development by biodesign (e.g. colour of micro-organisms) and up cycling dyes and residual ink.

3. Living Leather: research into new materials (e.g. fruit waste) that can take over the function of leather as a future alternative to the highly problematic leather industry and the many leather accessories in the fashion industry.

4. Living Skin: focuses on the ‘behaviour’ of new materials such as mycelium, kombucha and algae when worn on the skin of the human body, and on the personalization of these materials.

5. Biomimicry: research on the relationship between biomimicry and circular principles with respect to the development of new materials, design strategies and a social ecosystem.

The following designers contribute to this project:

Together with Aliki van der Kruijs we work on the Living Colors subproject. It’s nice to see that designers of other sub projects start working together as well. For instance we are currently testing many different materials in our process, for example the MycoTEX material of Aniela Hoitink. This cross-pollination can take our individual projects to a next level.

The Future of Living Materials is funded by Bankgiroloterij Fonds.

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