As Ginkgo Bioworks’ pilot designers-in-residence, Faber Futures explored the capabilities of Ginkgo’s foundry to develop custom microbial strains, designing, engineering and building custom tools through digital fabrication in order to create graphic textile prints, larger-scale textile patterns and a bespoke engineered print for garments. This experimental collaboration incorporated three distinct lines of enquiry: Scale, Void and Assemblage 001
Scale explores how Ginkgo’s infrastructure enables larger lengths of fabric to be dyed. With Rise and Fall of a Micropolis, we had already devised a protocol to dye a piece of fabric that measured 2m x 2m. The scale of Gingko’s infrastructure made it possible to increase the parametrics of design for longer lengths of fabrics.
Void sees our existing prototypes for the bespoke tools engineered to control the growth patterns of S.coelicolor scaled for larger textile prints. We ran two sets of experiments with these printing tools to achieve large-scale graphic prints, which helped us understand how the expanded scale of the new printing tools might influence existing protocols.
Assemblage 001 is the world’s first garment so incorporate bacteria dyes as the basis of its construction. In this experiment, we developed a method of pattern cutting that enabled us to deconstruct a garment to its component pieces before in-vitro dyeing – meaning that every part can be given a distinct, highly specified finish. The development of Assemblage 001 marked another step towards a fully customisable dyeing process, and a milestone in the creation of in a new resource-efficient biofabrication method for making, colouring and patterning complex textile products.