Milan Design Week 2015. Transnatural Label & Lab, the Dutch international platform that promotes designers who mesh Nature and technlogy in search of alternative energy and material resources, presented Living Matter(s), an exhibition that took visitors on a journey through the world of synthetic fabricated bio materials, objects and projects.
At Ventura Lambrate in Milan visitors could discover designs grown from the fungus development and multicolour mirrors obtained by speeding silver chemical oxidation. On show also a synthetic material able to reproduce the photosynthesis like a real leaf, glass-blown lamps that glow at night, innovative materials made with compressed bugs-shells and up-cycled ivory designs made with recycled human and animal tooth waste.
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Maurizio Montalti studied fungus as a material source that results in growing design objects. The Growing Lab designer explored strategies for growing materials and making products, by implementing fungal mycelia. The material and the products grow in a mold by a process that is comparable to a sort of natural 3D-printing. The result is the first collection of fungus grown products on show in Milan.
Julian Melchiorri experiments in his Silk Leaf project with another biological process: photosynthesis. Silk Leaf can absorb water and carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen like a plant thanks to the photosynthetic ability of the stabilized chloroplasts inside silk protein. Any visible light and water is needed to enable the reaction.This promising project could lead to a various range of small and large scale architectural and environmental implementations.
Having the necessity to provide water to the chloroplasts to enable the photosynthesis, another embedded technology to deliver water to the chloroplasts has been introduced. The water will also remove chemical residues and sugars through osmosis, introducing the idea to collect it for energy generation.
Lex Pott and David Derksen designed Transience Mirrors by accelerating chemically the natural oxidation process of silver. The result is a colorful and geometric patchwork that ranges from silver and gold to brown, from purple to blue.
Aagje Hoekstra‘s presented Coleoptera, a bioplastic made using dead beetles. “In the Netherlands, mealworms are bred for the animal food industry. Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle, which dies three to four months after laying its eggs. Because the beetle is at the end of it’s life cycle, it is seen as waste” says the designer. The beetle’s armor contains the substance chitin. After cellulose, chitin is the most common polymer on earth.
After peeling the insects, a chemical lab transforms the shields into pure chitin and subsequently into a polymer that bonds better due to a variation in molecular composition. After pressing the material in apaper-thin the ‘insect plastic’ Coleoptera is ready to be used for light objects and jewelry.
Nina van den Broek‘s Ivorish is an ivory-like material made from human or animal tooth waste material. By pulverizing the material into powder and then manually shaping an object out of it, the designer unveils the ambiguous beauty of ivory.
Transnatural also launched the outdoor Trap Light by Mike Thompson en Gionata Gatto. Using a traditional glass blowing technique, it becomes possible to embed photo-luminescent pigments into the glass body of the lamp. These pigments capture the light and glow in the dark. These in- and outdoor lamps are available in three different colours: white, yellow and blue.