Towards design-led biofabrication.
Held at the design firm’s London studio, the IDEO Fortnights residency programme invites designers to rapid-prototype, test and evaluate an idea.
The aim of Faber Futures’ residency was to develop an intuitive system for generating a taxonomy of experimental processes to incorporate bacteria dyes in textile finishing. The project evolves a new-found dexterity in microbiology protocol, bridging the gap between process innovation and emerging craft practice.
Based on earlier research, we turned to the origami fortune teller of childhood, adapting its algorithm-driven decision-making sequence to deliver different combinations of ‘ways of growing.’ Inspired by the effects of minute variables in scientific experimentation, we set out to layer a number of calculated biofabrication techniques that could – in isolation or combination– lead to the emergence of distinctive aesthetic and design outcomes. The sequence allows the player to randomly configure four compatible variables from the following attributes: fabric type; media recipe; inoculation style; and fabric preparation method. The variable selection determines how each experiment will be conducted.
From designing a way to control patterns of growth to choreographing the workflow of a new inoculation chamber, the fortnight at IDEO enabled us to design the system, experiment with the process, and create early-stage prototypes to implement the sequence.