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Living Colour | Lionne van Deursen

Materials grown from living micro-organisms and dyed with natural food waste.


+ Creator | Lionne van Deursen

+ Country | The Netherlands

+ Colour | Biomaterial dyed with onion skins

+ Challenge | How can we ‘grow’ healthy new materials from living micro-organisms?


Naturally dyed bacterial cellulose

“For years we have been accustomed to the use of polluting and resource-limited materials, seeing them as practical, useful, and time-saving. However, the habit of the throwaway practice has led to pollution, sharp reductions in key raw materials, and numerous environmental problems.” Lionne van Deursen

Biotic | Lionne van Deursen

Lionne van Deursen is a researcher, product and bio-designer. Her material research and product design studio focuses on experimental research into the possibilities of new innovative materials which don’t harm the environment but positively add to it.

Lionne is currently working on a 100% biodegradable material made of bacterial cellulose,

her goal is to develop sustainable projects with this new technique in order to replace current conventional materials that damage our planet.

For Lionne it's not only about creating sustainable materials but also about the use of a sustainable production process, creating a holistic ecosystem for new materials hopefully enabling them to gain the traction they need to be accepted on a larger scale.

'Unfold' biofilm + onion skins dye

Symbiotic Culture | Bacteria + Yeast

Lionne has developed a technical new biological material grown from bacterial cellulose. Bacterial cellulose is made using yeast and bacteria in a fermentation process. The bacteria are fed by sweetened green tea, during this process, the genius bacteria spin nanofibers of cellulose and produce a layer on the surface. Incredibly when this layer has dried, it becomes a solid material, it's strong and high flexibility are comparable properties to leather. A really exciting element of the material is the fact it is 100% compostable at the end of its life!

Bacteria and yeast fermentation process

Living Colour | Red Onion Skins

Its natural pale yellow-tinted colour can be easily changed due to the high absorption of the grown material. Lionne investigated dying the biological material using natural plant dyes including turmeric, madder and discarded roses, plus homegrown fruits and vegetable waste such as red onion skins. The experiments resulted in a beautiful palette of natural hues ranging from washed lime greens, blush pinks, soft lilacs, yellows and blues.

Waste onions + beetroots dye

“Our bio-materials aim to surprise and sensitize you to new and extraordinarily valid alternative to plastic and other polluting materials.” Lionne van Deursen


Future Colour | Find out More

Instagram | @lionnevandeursen


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