Natsai Audrey Chieza: Fashion has a pollution problem -- can biology fix it?
Natsai Audrey Chieza is a trans-disciplinary design researcher whose fascinating work crosses boundaries between technology, biology, design and cultural studies. Full bio
Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.
of a Streptomyces coelicolor.
that's found in the soil
with other organisms,
organic chemical compounds.
from blue to pink and purple,
of its environment.
sparked my curiosity
closely with coelicolor.
my practice as a materials designer.
was going to completely revolutionize
grow our material future.
around fossil fuels,
material system we have ever known.
and we've crafted a dependency on it
our ways of making and our economies.
are reshaping the earth
of dramatically changing the climate,
has become deadly.
of not being affected
is a profound lack of imagination
of this planet's boundaries.
give way to renewable energy.
new material systems
will be biological,
is how we design and build them.
the destructive legacies of the oil age.
more quickly and precisely
of synthetic biology,
this functionality of living systems,
the assembly of DNA.
the kind of biological precision
to design a bacteria
renewable energy from algae.
this inherent brilliance of nature --
process of fermentation.
when harnessed by humans,
toolkit for our survival.
by bacterial fungi.
to grapes to make wine.
are part of a complex network --
that redistributes energy.
to multispecies interactions
the fermentation of grains,
have domesticated microorganisms
that as early as 350 AD,
foodstuffs that contained antibiotics.
of some Sudanese Nubian
significant deposits of tetracycline.
in modern medicine today.
the antimicrobial properties of mold.
fermentation of penicillin
play an important role
change our industries?
to develop new material systems
that the textile industry
caused by textile processing
and the dyeing stage.
requires huge amounts of water.
transformed the textile industry,
to process them are petroleum based.
appetite for fast fashion,
is ending up in landfill every year
notoriously difficult to recycle.
we've ever engineered.
through a seemingly simple question --
directly onto silk.
produces pigment around its own territory.
to saturate the entire cloth.
about dyeing textiles in this way --
directly onto the silk --
on just 200 milliliters of water.
generates very little runoff
without the use of any chemicals.
with designing with a living system is:
that has a life force of its own?
the baseline for cultivating Streptomyces
produces enough pigment,
the aesthetics of coelicolor's activity.
to generate an organic pattern ...
these artisanal methods of making
to use them in industry.
the tools and the processes
what happens on a petri dish
the architecture of our environments.
be a part of his toolkit.
that contains yeasts
specific commodity chemicals and compounds
of automated hardware and software
the growth conditions of the microbe.
to model the growth characteristics
ferment at 50,000 liters.
startup in Boston.
how their platform for scaling biology
of designing with bacteria for textiles.
for synthetic biology.
specifically to automate synthetic biology
to become tools to print and dye textiles.
to work with Streptomyces coelicolor
a bespoke print on a whole garment.
capacity in this field,
with mushroom leather,
and into product and architecture.
to produce spider-silk protein
into a highly programmable yarn.
are having to build and design
to work with biology.
in some extreme biomimicry.
this yeast creates into a yarn,
ordinarily spin their own silk.
exist in nature
around new bio-based industries.
crisis in front of us,
these new material systems
the damaging legacies of the oil age.
to ensure a sustainable development
across the world.
the regulatory and ethical frameworks
every part of our lived experience.
that we must be bold enough to shape.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERNatsai Audrey Chieza - Designer
Natsai Audrey Chieza is a trans-disciplinary design researcher whose fascinating work crosses boundaries between technology, biology, design and cultural studies.
Why you should listen
Natsai Audrey Chieza is Founder and Creative Director of Faber Futures, a creative R&D studio that conceptualizes, prototypes and evaluates the next generation of materials that are emerging through the convergence of biology, technology and design. The studio advocates a shift in thinking away from resource extraction to material systems that are grown within the limits of our planetary boundaries. Working with partners in academia and industry, she is at the forefront of defining the future of design in the context of the Anthropocene at the advent of enabling technologies like synthetic biology.
Chieza holds an MA (Hons) in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in Material Futures from Central Saint Martins. She began her career in design research at Textile Futures Research Centre (UK), while also pursuing her own research interests in biofabrication at the Ward Lab, University College London (UK). During this time she co-curated exhibitions and public programmes including Big Data, Designing with the Materials of Life 2015 (UK), Alive En Vie, Fondation EDF, 2014 (FR) and Postextiles, London Design Festival 2011 (UK).
Chieza has been a Designer in Residence at Ginkgo Bioworks (US), IDEO (UK), Machines Room (UK), Swedish Arts Grants Committee (SE), and the Ward Lab, University College London (UK). Her work has been widely exhibited at world-renowned galleries and museums, including the Victoria & Albert Museum (UK), Science Gallery Dublin (IR), Bauhaus Dessau (DE), Audax Textile Museum (NL) and at industry institutions like Microsoft Research (US/UK) and Fondation EDF (FR).
She has taught on degree programmes that are transitioning to biomaterials and sustainable design at Central Saint Martins, The Bartlett and Istituto Marangoni. Chieza's own body of work on biopigmented textiles has been featured in a number of leading publications, including WIRED, Next Nature, IDEO, Huffington Post, Viewpoint, Frame, Domus, LSN Global, Protein and FORM.
Natsai Audrey Chieza | Speaker | TED.com