RTD2015 02 Design in the Age of Living Technology
The creative application of emerging biotechnologies in design has begun to influence how we perceive our material world, boldly suggesting a conceivable balance between the industrialised world and ecological conversation. Embedding humanities practitioners in areas of scientific research, and vice versa, could be key to realising aspects of this utopian ideal. Faber Futures is an on-going collaborative research project that asks if designing with living systems offers a better material paradigm for the design landscape. The project aims to combine design thinking and science knowledge to establish the bacteria as component materials that offer sustainable alternatives to polluting industrial processes.
Key research explorations into ways of making have inspired the development of a protocol that captures pigment secreted by bacteria to dye textiles. By harnessing bacteria that naturally produce we have established a reliable manufacturing method that permanently transfers a colourfast biopigment without hazardous runoff. Mastering the fundamentals of laboratory protocol has been a vital enabling factor for the designer to draw real-life working prototypes. When merged with the design hand, the creation of these artefacts suggest that scaling production for a hypothetical consumer market can be a factor of design-centred interventions as well as the application of synthetic biology.