Design firm prints bacteria on silk scarves.
Designer and researcher Natsai Audrey Chieza, founder of London-based Studio Natsai Audrey, has developed a line of silk scarves featuring bacterial prints, named The Fold.
The collection is part of the studio’s Faber Futures project-a design research project, in collaboration with Professor John Ward of University College London, that combines design and molecular biology. Bacteria are trained to produce different pigments as a by-product of their metabolic activity, by tweaking the composition of their nutrition. Enough pigment is produced to screen print directly onto textiles.
To create The Fold, scarves are individually folded in origami-like patterns to fit inside a petri dish with a 150-mm diameter, where they are introduced to the bacteria. The secreted pigment diffuses through layers of the silk to produce mirrored prints that morph and shift until the bacteria die after seven days, leaving behind the patterns of their microbial activity.