Waag Shares: LABS Future Interiors symposium #1

How can we make our indoor climate healthier by developing new materials from living organisms? And what role can designers and architects undertake to contribute to the development of healthy indoor ‘gardens’? On Thursday 2 April, Waag's TextileLab Amsterdam organised the first online meetup within the LABS: Future Interiors project.

In collaboration with Waag and VU Amsterdam, Studio Samira Boon is working on 'Living Aero Bacterial Systems' within LABS: Future Interiors. This project focuses on a new material to improve our interiors with natural processes: a kombucha-based textile that enhances the air quality by integrating mosses and green plants.

During our first meetup, Margherita Soldati moderated lectures by:

  • Samira Boon, principal of Studio Samira Boon (introduction).
  • Lorena Trebi, PhD-student in Design at Sapienza University in Rome.
  • Sandrine d'Haene, researcher specialised in photosynthesis.
  • Evelina Domnitch en Dmitry Gelfand, artists.

Watch the online lecture

LABS: Future Interiors meetup #1 was one of the first Waag events that was organised online. Many people showed up and the presentations worked well via online video conferencing. Samira Boon introduced the meeting by presenting various projects on aerobacterial systems, like a fabric that improves air quality and responds to the different seasons.

Lorena Trebi did a presentation on designing with living organisms. This means nature is no longer a model, but a co-worker. The designer loses part of the control of the material. Lorena showed images of her own material, developed at TextileLab Amsterdam. These textiles are byproducts from fermentation processes of bacteria and yeast, based on the process of making kombucha. The colours of the textiles were dependent on the amount of sugar each bacteria culture got. 

'A green society should not be designed: it should give space to all forms of life.'

Sandrine d'Haene did her presentation on microbiology and the microbiotica in the air. These are the bacteria we don't know much about, but we are confronted with them constantly. Sandrine d'Haene showed which bacteria emerge in our surroundings. Just like Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand, she emphasized the importance of ventilating your living space. This art duo presented an introduction on the biology, ecosystems and sample techniques of the so-called aeriobiome.

After the presentations, the audience asked their questions. For example: how can we provide a greener society with biodesign? 'We shouldn't see bacteria as materials. We should treat them with more respect,' Evelina Domnitch said. 'We know next to nothing about building a cell from nothing. We should not design a greener society, but give space to all forms of life. They will build the green society for us. We do that by doing nothing, by stopping what we're doing.'

The next meetup within the project LABS: Future Interiors will take place on June 4th. Keep an eye on our website!