Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic single-celled organisms, they survived the five latest mass extinctions, and can be found in almost all habitats. They are the first photosynthetic organisms from which oxygen originated. Cyanobacteria biomineralization is a metabolic reaction: the absorption of CO2 during photosynthesis causes changes in the chemical composition of the water surrounding the bacteria, resulting in mineral precipitation.
The organism took a fundamental part in the design system, and contributed to the final aesthetics, dictated by the way this organism binds its substrate. The shapes designed are inspired by patterns recognized during microscopic observations of the cyanobacteria strains.
My project is inspired by research from the University of Colorado at Boulder (Heveran, C.M., et al., 2020, Biomineralization and successive regeneration of engineered living building materials, Matter). They demonstrated how to create strong bricks by inoculating a mineralizing cyanobacteria with a structural scaffold. I built on the published research by working with three different cyanobacteria strains, to demonstrate how the process could potentially be applied locally, and by using a scaffold that is made from algae derived hydrogels (sodium alginate and agar), and ground shells.
No two samples are alike and despite uniformity in the process, unruliness in the form is obvious, depending on the materialisation coming from a living system. This is particularly noticeable in the pattern of the base, created by using biomineralized samples as substrate, to demonstrate its remanufacturing property.
Temples and front of the frame are made of biomineralized material, while cyanobacteria pigment phycocyanin, combined with water and algae-derived hydrogel Sodium Alginate is used as print.