24th February 2014
With the financial crisis continuing and polarising the rich and the poor, creating an undercurrent of fear and with safety nets being put in place to safeguard ourselves, we need an outlet and fashion and design seems to be it.
A place to give way to the absurd and the excessive - what we thought we knew will be turned on its head in entirely new ways. We are already seeing design without boundaries, taste being pushed to its extremes and in a sense it is truly liberating.
Colour and pattern no longer adheres to any rules, form is not restricted and winter vs summer season is surely an historical over sight.
Artists such as Alex Chinneck with his slumping and upside down houses and Leandro Erlich with his mirrored facade are examples of where the absurd is all around us, but fashion is also embracing this where patterns clash, materials traditionally for night and day mix and the rules appear to no longer exist. Taste is questionable and fashion is fragrantly excessive.
21st February 2014
Materiologist Amy Congdon is exploring the decellularising of bacon and is re working it into a potential luxury material combined with bone powder and pearls for future luxury accessories.
The decellularisation process (developed for regenerative medicine purposes that involves removing the cells from an organ) leaves behind the extracellular matrix which Amy then puts through a series of textile techniques such as dyeing, tanning and weaving.
Exploring the boundary between fashion and biotechnological processes Amy is pushing the materiality of future fashion in a synthetic biology future.
Considering the potential of these accessories as extensions of our biological makeup as skin grafts and body modifications evolve she has also designed a series of speculative skin care products.
The ‘A.C. Skin Care Range' is an extension of her previous Biological Atelier work and are made up of the Graft Cleanser, Graft Toner, Graft Moisturiser, Bio-Skin Glue, Anti-Synth Bacterial Cream and Syn-Skin Treatment.
Amy's work was recently shown during the Big Data materials exhibition at Central St Martins as well as at the Envie/Alive exhibiton in Paris last summer.
21st February 2014
Multi fabrication textile experimentation was a key trend for the Central St Martins 2014 Ma Graduate show with designers mixing up beautifully embroidered knits, appliqué dresses and pony skin.
Here are some of my favourites showcasing the amazing material developments with a particular favourite being Anita Hirlekar who's use of textile techniques is extraordinary.
17th February 2014
Exploring the intersection between nature, science, technology and data, ‘Faber Futures’ is a design project embracing a new craft.
Utilising biotechnologies in order to create a new level of materiality, Natsai Chieza's work explores how we can push the boundaries of textile design.
Extracting pigment from plants root's, bacterial colonies are then harvested to produce dyestuff. Using bacteria that she grows as 'an ink factory' she then uses textile techniques such as screen printing and dyeing using the colour that she harvests from the grown bacteria.
Her 'living factory' dyes silk in a petri dish creating unique patterns and colour. Working in collaboration with Professor John Ward and his Lab at UCL,London it is work in progress and deep in research with a wider vision of where such a practice could take the textile industry. Aiming for a pre defined colour chart from the synthesis of the bacteria is the goal.
The latest textile designs have been growing and naturally designing themselves during a 3 week long project that has been held at Central St Martins - Natsai's work was shown alongside a live design-science project in collaboration with the Medical Research Council as part of the ‘Fabrics of Life’ series.
For three weeks, a gallery at Central St Martins became an incubator studio where emerging designers and architects created new design scenarios around the questions of:
How can biology help solve critical issues connected to the explosion of data?
If a living material can store data, how do we design with it?
A series of 6 projects were developed exploring Big Data: Designing with the materials of life - the best of which I will post about in the coming week.
15th February 2014
RCA design products student Yasuhiro Suzuki is another designer looking at natures waste or natures under used materials.
Working with silk straight from the cocoon Yasuhiro is exploring ways of spinning the thread directly from the cocoon via a silk moulding process called 'Re-cocoon'. The fibres that are released from a cocoon are aprox 1.5km long allowing them to be taken directly into a new form or construction.
Creating vessels and objects the natural properties of silk such as strength, heat retention and antibacterial means that its uses could be widespread.