• Cultural and Creative Industries
  • Situated Art and Design
  • Biobased Art and Design
  • All


Coloured by Flavo

Research Group: Biobased Art and Design

This research is about artists, scientists and bacteria co-developing high-performance colour’ as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based pigments and dyes.

Colour is at the heart of the creative industries and critical to the quality of our lives. Most colourants used in artefacts have problems in performance (e.g. intensity and stability), and are often based around petroleum products and/or transition metals. 

Currently, the choice of biobased high-performance colours is limited. Structural colour (SC) is a viable, sustainable alternative. The best examples are found in nature (e.g. in peacock feathers), in which nanostructures interact with incident light to reflect intense hues. Previously we have shown that SC can be created by non-harmful Flavobacteria grown on low value industrial waste. 

This research promotes a notion of collaboration with these living organisms, to enhance the fusion of technology and organic systems. It proposes to establish this collaboration by capitalising on artistic practice, not only for discovering unforeseen design potentials of these organisms but also conveying them to society. A methodology is being offered which combines diverse technical and creative methods taking artists and scientists (and bacteria!) as equal and active partners. Outcomes will be realised within educational modules, material demonstrators, and strategies for communicating design potentials and future research directions.

Ongoing research, started 2019.

Principle investigator
Ward Groutars
Clarice Risseeuw

Other researchers involved
Radi Hamidjaja (Hoekmine BV)

Elvin Karana 

Hoekmine B.V., BlueCity Lab, Aldje van Meer (WdKA), Charlotte Bik (WdKA), Advanced Prototyping Minor/ Industrial Design Engineering (TU Delft) 

Principle investigators
Colin Ingham (Hoekmine BV), Elvin Karana, Hauke Smidt (Wageningen University)  

Inks, coatings, dyes 

Avans University of Applied Sciences, Willem de Kooning Academy, TU Delft   

Smart Culture/ Art & Culture Program/ NWO (NL)

‘Bacteria, Fungi, Humans, all part of the same experiment.’

Ward Groutars is a researcher with the Biobased Art and Design research group. 

Ward Groutars arrow

‘Nature is a perfect example of an iterative design process. It is inspiring and full of exciting solutions.’

Clarice Risseeuw is a researcher within the Biobased Art and Design research group

Clarice Risseeuw arrow

Research Group: Biobased Art and Design

The research group Biobased Art and Design capitalises on the role of artistic practice in unlocking the unique potentials of living organisms for everyday materials and communicating these to a broader public. In doing so, the group aims to instigate and accelerate our widespread understanding, further development and usage of such materials. The group’s research approach encourages tangible interactions with the living organisms, such as algae, fungi, plants and bacteria, to explore and understand their unique qualities and constraints through diverse technical and creative methods taking artists, designers and scientists as equal and active partners in the material creation.

Read more arrow
All projects arrow

Thank you for your subscription! Please check your email inbox to confirm.